Three members of the Memphis, Tennessee fire department were fired on Monday after an investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols revealed they “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment on the victim,” according to the fire chief.
The announcement comes just days after five former Memphis Police Department officers – Desmond Mills, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, Tadarrius Bean and Demetrius Haley – were charged in the death of Nichols. All five officers were terminated on Jan. 18 and now face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, official oppression, aggravated kidnapping and official misconduct.
Memphis authorities released four videos of the incident on the night of Jan. 7, when police conducted a traffic stop on 29-year-old Nichols.
The traffic stop started shortly after 8 p.m. and bodycam footage released last week shows officers approaching Nichols and ordering him out of the car while using profanities.
forcibly grabbing Nichols to comply with requests, leading him to point out that the officers were acting out of line.
The footage showed the violent encounter between the five officers and Nichols, who spent three days in the hospital before succumbing to his injuries.
The Fire Department was dispatched to the scene
EMT Robert Long and JaMicheal Sandridge arrived at the scene where Nichols was seen handcuffed on the ground and leaning against a police officer. Lieutenant Michelle Whitaker, who drove the fire engine to the scene, remained in the 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,” Fire Chief Gina Sweat said in a statement. “After their initial interaction with Mr. Nichols, they requested an ambulance to respond.”
Sweat added when the ambulance arrived, nearly 15 minutes after the fire truck arrived, the emergency personnel initiated patient care and transported Nichols to St. Francis Hospital.
The investigation, according to the chief, found Long, Sandridge and Whitaker violated numerous department policies and protocols, and as a result they were fired.
“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,” Sweat said.