MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Preston Hemphill, the sixth Memphis Police officer fired in the Tyre Nichols investigation, lied in his statements after the deadly traffic stop, according to records submitted to the state.
In files submitted after a disciplinary hearing, Hemphill admitted that while Nichols was pulled over for allegedly driving recklessly at high speed, Hemphill never saw the alleged traffic offense.
Hemphill was among the officers involved in the initial traffic stop at Ross and Raines on Jan. 7 and deployed his Taser as Nichols tried to get away.
Files note that Nichols was not armed, did not initiate physical force or verbal threats, and did not pose an immediate threat. Hemphill deployed his Taser for three seconds in the middle of traffic on a fleeing subject, in violation of policy, the documents state.
Hemphill also stated that Nichols attempted to grab another officer’s gun, but records note no video evidence was found to corroborate this. Hemphill told superiors that Nichols was fighting, but video evidence instead showed Nichols running away as officers tried to grab him.
Hemphill was relieved of duty on Jan. 8 and terminated on Feb. 3. MPD has sent a request to a state board to have Hemphill decertified.
Hemphill has not been charged criminally in the incident.
Five other officers have been fired and are facing criminal charges including second-degree murder in Nichols’ death. The district attorney is reviewing all of their current and former cases.