Former Memphis police officer took 2 photos of Tyre Nichols after beating, sent to 5 people
After Memphis police officers gave Tyre Nichols the beating that preceded the 29-year-old man's death, one officer, Demetrius Haley, took photos of the bloodied and injured man with his personal cell phone and sent it to five people, newly released documents show.
A statement of charges, obtained through a public records request to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), was sent by the Memphis Police Department in its request to have now former officers Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith, Desmond Mills and Emmitt Martin III decertified.
POST is Tennessee's police certification body, which also decertifies officers and prevents them from working in the state at another department.
"On [Haley's] personal cell phone, [Haley] took two photographs while standing in front of the obviously injured subject after he was handcuffed," the document read. "[Haley] admitted [he] shared the photo in a text message with five people; one civilian employee, two MPD officers, and one female acquaintance."
The statement of charges, which are internal documents given when an officer is accused of an MPD policy violation, also says a sixth person was later found to have received the same photograph. It is unclear who the sixth person is and how they obtained the picture.
MPD officers are prohibited from using a private cell phone while "actively performing any uniform patrol duties, such as but not limited to, operating a police vehicle, handling calls for service, conducting traffic stops, directing traffic and participating in a special events detail," according to the department's rules and regulations.
Officers are also not allowed to share information "relating to official police matters without prior approval or subpoena," according to the department's regulations.
Haley is one of six officers to have been fired from the police department in recent weeks. He is also one of the five to have been indicted on multiple criminal charges, including second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official oppression and two counts of official misconduct in connection with Nichols's death, which occurred three days after a video showed police beating Nichols during a traffic stop.
The Memphis Police Department and Haley's attorney, Michael Stengel of Memphis, declined to comment Tuesday afternoon on the document, which was first reported Tuesday afternoon by The New York Times.
Tyre Nichols coverage: Funeral service, protests and everything that has happened since day 1
Nichols was taken to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition Jan. 7 after police pulled him over for a traffic violation. He died three days later.
Nichols was pulled from his car as officers yelled a number of commands and profanities at him, all while Nichols calmly asked "What did I do?"
At one point, officers began to pepper spray Nichols, before he jumps up and begins to run from the officers. Now former officer Preston Hemphill fired his taser at Nichols, apparently hitting him before Nichols shed his jacket, along with the prongs, and continued to run.
"I hope they stomp his ass," Hemphill can be heard saying over his body camera footage.
Officers caught up to Nichols about 100 yards from his destination — his mother's home — and tackled him to the ground again.
After being restrained, officers began to kick, punch and pepper spray Nichols, who can be heard calling for his mother at one point in an officer's body camera footage.
The footage, which included four videos from body cameras and a SkyCop camera, was released Jan. 27. Widespread peaceful protests took hold in the city, and a number of vigils have been hosted in his honor.
Calls to reintroduce the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, along with a number of local police reform ordinances, followed his death. His funeral, hosted Feb. 1, featured a number of high-profile attendees, including Vice President Kamala Harris who echoed the calls for national police reform.
Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, and step-father, Rodney Wells, have retained civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci. Neither Crump, nor Romanucci, could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Josh Keefe is an investigative reporter with The Tennessean.
Lucas Finton is a news reporter with The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at Lucas.Finton@commercialappeal.com and followed on Twitter @LucasFinton.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Former Memphis police officer took photo of Tyre Nichols after beating