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3 Memphis paramedics fired for their response to the fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols

Three paramedics who responded to the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols were terminated Monday after an internal investigation, the Memphis Fire Department said.

Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge, and Lt. Michelle Whitaker were found to have violated multiple department policies in their patient response to Nichols on Jan. 7, the department said in a statement.

"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," it said.

The department was dispatched to the scene of Nichols' traffic stop at 8:31 p.m. after police had called due to a "person pepper sprayed" at the scene, the department noted. Long, Sandridge, and Whitaker were dispatched to a second location and arrived to find Nichols leaning against a police vehicle 10 minutes after the call.

From left, Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge, and Michelle Whitaker.
From left, Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge, and Michelle Whitaker.Memphis Fire Dept via Twitter

Long and Sandridge responded to Nichols, while Whitaker and a driver remained in the vehicle, the department said.

"Our investigation has concluded that the two EMT's 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.

Voicemails left at phone numbers listed for Long and Whitaker were not immediately returned Monday evening. Sandridge did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Video released from the Nichols traffic stop showed officers exerting multiple uses of force against him, including pepper spray. The officers also appeared to punch, strike a baton and seemingly kick Nichols in the face while he was detained, the videos released Friday showed.

Nichols was transported to the hospital in critical condition, where he died three days later. A cause of death has not yet been released.

Police initially said Nichols was pulled over in a reckless driving stop, but Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis said her office has found no proof to substantiate the claim. Officers ordered Nichols on the ground, giving him conflicting commands before he ran away.

Officers pursued Nichols, deploying a stun gun on him as he fled from the officers, according to the videos. He was repeatedly pepper sprayed before being beaten an estimated 80 yards from his mother's home. Nichols died three days later.

Preliminary findings in an autopsy conducted by a forensic pathologist for Nichols’ family show he was severely beaten before he died, the family’s attorneys have said. The Shelby County medical examiner’s office hasn’t released an official cause of death.

Five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were fired on Jan. 20 after an administrative investigation found they had violated department policy on the use of force. A sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, was "relieved of duty," police said Monday.

Bean, Haley, Martin, Mills and Smith were charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault, prosecutors announced last week.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.