- A Memphis police lieutenant retired a day before his disciplinary hearing in the death of Tire Nichols.
- Nichols’ family is “deeply disturbed” by the police department’s decision to allow retirement, his attorney said in a statement.
- Attorney Ben Crump called Lt. Dewayne Smith’s decision to retire a “cowardly step in his actions.”
Tire Nichols’ family is “deeply disturbed” after a Memphis police lieutenant walked out ahead of a hearing into Nichol’s death at which he was expected to be fired, according to reports.
Lt. Dewayne Smith, the ranking officer on the scene when police beat Tire Nichols, who died days later from his injuries in early January, requested his retirement on March 1, according to WMC. Smith was scheduled for a disciplinary hearing on March 2 for violations of the dereliction of duty policy, unauthorized public statements and compliance with regulations, internal documents reviewed by the station showed.
Smith did not appear at the March 2 hearing, according to WMC. The Memphis Police Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Saturday.
Five Memphis Police Department officers has been loaded with second degree murder in connection with the death of Nichols. Body camera footage showed the five police officers (Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith) punching, kicking and pepper-spraying Nichols after pulling him out of his car during a traffic stop. in a street not far from his mother’s house.
Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing the Nichols family, said the family is “deeply disturbed that Memphis police allowed and agreed to the removal of Lt. Dewayne Smith, in light of his immediately pending disciplinary hearing.” in a statement provided to Insider.
Crump called on Memphis police to do “everything in their power” to hold Smith and all other officers involved in Smith’s death accountable, calling Smith’s removal a “cowardly avoidance of the consequences of his actions.” “.
“His cowardice in resigning and not facing his own disciplinary board to defend himself is not an end to accountability or reckoning,” Crump said in the statement.
MPD documents say Smith did not question other officers on the scene about the use of force, even though he saw injuries on Nichols’ face, and did not order medical personnel to help Nichols after seeing him say “No.” I can breathe” afterwards. the beating, reports WMC.
Smith was also accused of making an inappropriate statement to Nichols’ family by telling them that he had been charged with DUI, which he was not, according to the outlet.