One of the fired police officers charged with murder for savagely beating Tyre Nichols following a traffic stop in Memphis also took at least one photo of the victim after the brutality and texted it to others, according to a new report.
At least six unidentified people saw the photo shared via text message by Demetrius Haley, who was fired in the days after Nichols died from his injuries on Jan. 10.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal on Tuesday first reported the latest developments and cited a police statement about the violent traffic stop on Jan. 7.
From the Commercial Appeal:
The statement, which was obtained through a public records request to the Peace Officer Standards and Training, was sent by the Memphis Police Department in its request to have now former officers Tadarrius Bean, Haley, Justin Smith, Desmond Mills and Emmitt Martin III decertified.
“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 memo goes on to say a sixth person was later found to have received the same photograph.
The new report at least partially confirms suspicions that photos were taken of Nichols as cops took turns delivering punches and kicks to the restrained 29-year-old.
Bodycam video from the police violence on Jan. 7 showed what appeared to be an officer using a cellphone to take a photo of Nichols while he was leaning up against a police car.
Prior to Tuesday’s report, there was speculation on social media that officers were taking photos of Nichols during the beating.
The latest update in an investigation that appears to be widening in scope came nearly one week after Nichols’ funeral was held in Memphis where his friends and family alongside civil rights leaders echoed calls for federal police reform.
At least 13 Memphis police employees have been disciplined for their various roles in the beating, at least six other now-former officers who have been fired. Haley is among the five former officers who have been charged with second-degree murder.
Police bodycam footage from the traffic stop and subsequent beating was released late last month.
Nichols’ mother cautioned parents against allowing their children to watch the startling video.
“I’ve never seen the video, but what I’ve heard it’s very horrific, very horrific,” RowVaughn Wells said at the time. “And any of you who have children, please don’t let them see it.”
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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