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No criminal charges will be filed for former Memphis police officer Preston Hemphill in Tyre Nichols stop

By Alisha Ebrahimji and Nick Valencia, CNN

No criminal charges will be filed against one of the Memphis police officers who was fired for his involvement in the fatal traffic stop that led to Tyre Nichols’ death, the Shelby County District Attorney announced Tuesday.

On January 7, 29-year-old Nichols, a Black man, was repeatedly punched and kicked by Memphis police officers following a traffic stop and brief foot chase.

Former White Memphis police officer Preston Hemphill was part of the initial traffic stop of Nichols. He was fired and charged departmentally — not criminally — over policy violations related to personal conduct, truthfulness and compliance with regulations governing a stun gun, uniform, inventory and recovered property processing, according to the Memphis Police Department.

“By no means do we endorse the conduct of Hemphill at the stop involving Tyre Nichols,” Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said in a news release. “In this case, Hemphill did not pursue Tyre Nichols and never left the initial scene.”

Hemphill was not involved in the second encounter where Nichols was brutally beaten by police, according to Mulroy, and has been added to the department’s Giglio list.

A Giglio list is curated by the prosecutor’s office or a police department with the names and details of law enforcement officers who have had sustained incidents of untruthfulness, criminal convictions, candor issues, or some other type of issue placing their credibility into question, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

During the initial traffic stop, Hemphill fired a stun gun at the driver and, after Nichols ran, said, “One of them prongs hit the bastard,” bodycam footage released by the city shows. Twice to another officer, he says: “I hope they stomp his ass.”

While on top of Nichols, Hemphill “used the assaultive statement, ‘Get on the f**king ground. Finna tase yo ass,'” according to the police decertification letter Memphis Police sent to Tennessee’s Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission and obtained by CNN on February 9.

Hemphill “was never present at the second scene,” Hemphill’s defense attorney, Lee Gerald, said January 30, adding his client activated his bodycam as required and “is cooperating with officials in this investigation.”

The footage does not show Hemphill at the second site, where the DA has said Nichols was beaten and suffered his serious injuries.

In his statement on a form about the incident, Hemphill said Nichols attempted to grab his partner’s duty weapon. The statement was part of the decertification letter.

“There is no video footage to corroborate that statement,” the letter said, adding Hemphill then provided a conflicting statement to investigators, telling them he “did not see the subject grab your partner’s gun.”

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