Three Memphis EMTs have been fired after failing to properly respond and administer patient care to Tyre Nichols, who was brutally beaten by police during a traffic stop that turned deadly.
According to NBC News, the Memphis Fire Department terminated Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge, and Lt. Michelle Whitaker for violating multiple department policies and protocols in their patient response earlier this month.
"Their actions or inactions on the scene that night do not meet the expectations of the Memphis Fire Department and are not reflective of the outstanding service the men and women of the Memphis Fire Department provide daily in our community," the fire department said in a statement on Monday (January 30).
Long, Sandridge, and Whitaker were sent to the scene of Nichols' traffic stop on January 7 after police reported a "person pepper sprayed" at 8:31 pm. The fire department EMTs found Nichols propped up against a police car about ten minutes after the initial report.
According to the fire department, Long and Sandridge responded to Nichols, while Whitaker and a driver stayed in a vehicle.
"Our investigation has concluded that the two EMTs responded based on the initial nature of the call (person pepper sprayed) and information they were told on the scene and failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols," the department said.
An emergency unit and ambulance were dispatched following their interaction with Nichols. The unit arrived at the scene, initiated care, and took Nichols to the hospital at 9:08 pm, 27 minutes after the three EMTs had arrived.
Nichols died on January 10, three days after being hospitalized.
The Memphis Police Department initially said the officers pulled over Nichols for alleged reckless driving. "Confrontations" followed after Nichols fled the scene on foot, according to police. While in custody, he complained of having shortness of breath.
Police footage released to the public on Friday (January 27) shows officers pepper spraying, punching, and kicking Nichols in the face during the stop.
Five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith — were fired earlier this month in connection to Nichols' death and charged last week with second-degree murder aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, and official oppression.
A sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, was "relieved of duty" on Monday for his involvement in the traffic stop where police fatally beat Nichols, along with a seventh officer, who remains unnamed.
Lawyers for Mills and Martin said they plan to plead not guilty, per NBC News.
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