Posted on February 1, 2023

4 Officers Indicted in Tyre Nichols Death Had Previous Reprimands, Suspensions by MPD

Lucas Finton, Memphis Commercial Appeal, February 1, 2023

Four of the five former Memphis Police officers indicted for their role in the death of Tyre Nichols were suspended or received a written reprimand during their tenure with the department, with only one charged officer avoiding internal disciplined during his tenure.

In personnel files obtained through a public records request by The Commercial Appeal, four officers were either reprimanded or suspended for their failure to report when they used physicality, failing to report alleged domestic violence, or for damages sustained to their squad cruisers.

The four former officers indicted who had either a reprimand or a suspension were Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Justin Smith, and Emmitt Martin III. Tadarrius Bean, who was also fired and indicted, did not have any reprimands or suspensions in the records viewed by The Commercial Appeal.

Reviews of records found that the officers faced little-to-no consequences as they made forceful arrests with no documentation and drove recklessly to scenes. {snip}


Haley was given a written reprimand in November 2021 after he failed to file a response to resistance form. {snip}

Memphis Police officers are required to complete a response to resistance form when “any part of the officer’s body [is used] to compel compliance,” according to department policies and procedures.


During the hearing, Memphis Police Lt. William Acred said Haley was “a hard-working officer [who] routinely makes good decisions” and that “he was sure that this was a limited event.”

A few months later, Haley was driving his cruiser, speeding in emergency mode, meaning the lights and siren were on, and lost control of the car as he made a turn. He hit the curb and a stop sign.


Mills, Jr. was also given a written reprimand for not filing a response to resistance form after a March 2019 arrest. {snip}


Mills, Jr. was also reprimanded in another hearing for rough or careless handling of equipment after his personal digital assistant was dropped and run over by another vehicle.

Martin III was suspended for three days without pay for not checking the back seat of his cruiser after leaving a shift. A silver revolver was found in the back seat.

He was later suspended for a day without pay after he didn’t take a report after responding to an alleged domestic violence call September 27, 2020. {snip}

In the hearing, Officer James Schmedes spoke on Martin III’s behalf.

“[Schmedes] advised that Officer Martin was one of the shift’s top producers,” the hearing summary said.

Smith received a two-day suspension in July 2021 after hitting another vehicle, causing it to spin out, and hit a third vehicle.