Memphis Police Officer Texted Photo Of Beaten Tyre Nichols After Violent Arrest, Report Says


One of the Memphis police officers fired and charged with murder over the death of Tyre Nichols texted a photo of a beaten Nichols to five people the night of his arrest, according to the New York Times, after the officer was seen on video kicking Nichols as he writhed on the ground in pain.

Key Facts

Officer Demetrius Haley sent the photo to two other police officers, a civilian Memphis Police Department employee and an acquaintance who did not work for police, according to the Times, citing a document sent to the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission.

Haley reportedly used his personal cell phone to take the photos during Nichols’ arrest, which is against department policy.

Haley could be seen in publicly released video footage of the January 7 arrest delivering a kick to Nichols’ upper body and apparently taking out a phone and shooting photographs of Nichols while he was propped up against a police car after being beaten, the Times says.

Video also showed Haley forcibly pulling Nichols out of his car during a traffic stop and attempting to pepper spray him.

Haley was one of five officers fired from the Memphis Police Department on January 20 and later charged with second-degree murder—he was released from custody on January 27 after posting a $350,000 bond.

Haley’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

Key Background

Prosecutors say the actions of Haley and the four other charged officers led directly to Nichols’ death three days later due to excessive blood loss, while emergency responders have also been blasted for allegedly not responding fast enough after Nichols was beaten. The Memphis Fire Department fired three employees last week over the response, while a sixth police officer was fired Friday in connection with the arrest—though none of those apart from the first five fired officers have been charged. Memphis’ chief legal officer, Jennifer Sink, said at a city council meeting Tuesday that seven additional officers face discipline for their role in Nichols’ arrest.

What We Don’t Know

It’s still not clear why police responded so violently to what they claim was a routine traffic stop, nor why a now-disbanded specialized unit designed only to respond to serious crimes was involved in the arrest.

Further Reading

Memphis Officer Texted Photo of Tyre Nichols After Beating (New York Times)

Tyre Nichols’ Death: Footage Of Nichols’ Fatal Beating Sparks Protests Nationwide (Forbes)

3 Memphis Fire Department Staffers Fired Over Tyre Nichols Arrest (Forbes)

7 Additional Memphis Police Officers To Be Disciplined For Tyre Nichols’ Death (Forbes)

Tyre Nichols Death: What To Know About The Now-Disbanded ‘SCORPION’ Police Unit That Pulled Him Over (Forbes)