Memphis police officer took pictures of handcuffed, beaten Tyre Nichols
By Joseph Ax and Daniel Trotta
(Reuters) – A Memphis police officer photographed a bludgeoned and handcuffed Tyre Nichols and shared the image with five people including a female acquaintance in violation of police policy, media reported on Tuesday, citing a report sent to a police review board.
In yet another revelation surrounding the Jan. 7 fatal beating that was captured on police video and led to a national outcry, police said in the report to the review board, and cited by WREG television and other media, that the officer violated a ban on sharing police information to unauthorized recipients without approval.
The report came on the same day the Memphis city attorney said seven more Memphis police officers are expected to face formal disciplinary charges this week in connection with Nichols’ death, raising to 13 the number of officers who could be punished.
Six officers have already been dismissed including five charged with second-degree murder. Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died three days after he was bludgeoned by officers following a Jan. 7 traffic stop, becoming the latest in a series of African-American victims whose deaths have fueled a national debate about race and police brutality.
Officers punched and kicked Nichols as he was restrained by others, smacked him with a baton, doused him with pepper spray and fired a Taser stun gun at him following the traffic stop.
One of the officers snapped the picture of Nichols as he sat propped against a police car in need of medical care, hands cuffed behind his back.
“On your personal cell phone, you took two photographs while standing in front of the obviously injured subject after he was handcuffed. In your Garrity statement, you admitted you shared the photo in a text message with five (5) people; one civilian employee, two MPD officers, and one female acquaintance,” city police said in the report sent to a police review board, according to an image of it published on by WREG on its website.
The new detail was revealed as the city said more officers were under scrutiny for events that night.
City Attorney Jennifer Sink told the city council she expected administrative charges to be issued against seven additional officers this week. She did not identify the officers, citing the investigation.
Approximately 10 officers responded to the scene, Police Chief Cerelyn Davis told council members.
“A lot went wrong on January 7,” Davis said. “This is a classic example of officers with a wolf-pack mentality, ego and other issues that mushroomed into a very tragic situation.”
Three members of the fire department have also been fired for failing to provide proper emergency medical treatment after Nichols was handcuffed.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy has said additional police officers, fire department personnel and others who prepared documentation of the incident may also face criminal charges as more information becomes available.
The specialized street unit that included the five officers charged with Nichols’ murder has been disbanded.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax and Daniel Trotta; Editing by Caitlin Webber, Robert Birsel)