Memphis Officer Took and Sent Photos of Tyre Nichols After Beating: Documents  

Tyre Nichols, 29, was allegedly beaten to death by five police officers during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tenn.

tyre nichols
Tyre Nichols. Photo: facebook

Content warning: This article contains disturbing descriptions of violence.

A former Memphis police officer allegedly sent photos of a bloodied and beaten Tyre Nichols after he was attacked during a traffic stop in January.

Officer Demetrius Haley allegedly took two photos of Nichols propped up against a police car with handcuffs, according to documents sent by the Memphis Police Department to the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, the Commercial Appeal reported.

Haley admitted he sent a photo to at least five people, including fellow officers and a female acquaintance, the Washington Post reported. It was later discovered after an administrative investigation that he also sent a photo to a sixth person, according to the outlet.

"On [Haley's] personal cell phone, [Haley] took two photographs while standing in front of the obviously injured subject after he was handcuffed," according to the documents, the Commercial Appeal reported. "[Haley] admitted [he] shared the photo in a text message with five people; one civilian employee, two MPD officers, and one female acquaintance."

Nichols died three days later from the injuries he sustained during the beating. He was 29.

The five now-fired Memphis officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and multiple counts of official misconduct and official oppression in connection with Nichols' death, according to online Shelby County Jail records reviewed by PEOPLE. They have since been released on bond.

A sixth Memphis Police Department officer involved in the arrest, Preston Hemphill, was fired in February after officers discovered more information while investigating Nichols' death, the department announced.

The Memphis Police Department requested last month that the state agency decertify the five officers who were charged in connection with Nichols' death, according to The New York Times. The decertification would make the officers ineligible to work in law enforcement in Tennessee, The Times reported.

In this photo provided by WREG, Tyre Nichols' stepfather Rodney Wells, center, stands next to a photo of Nichols in the hospital after his arrest, during a protest in Memphis, Tenn Police Force Investigation, Memphis, United States - 14 Jan 2023
Tyre Nichols. Jordan James/AP/Shutterstock

Nichols was pulled over for alleged reckless driving on Jan. 7 around 8:30 p.m., and following the traffic stop, Memphis police say Nichols fled on foot and more than one "confrontation" ensued.

According to the documents, Haley, who was wearing a hoodie over his head "forced the driver out of his vehicle while using loud profanity," the Washington Post reported.

He pepper-sprayed Nichols in his eyes and "never told the driver the purpose of the vehicle stop or that he was under arrest," The Post reported.

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Haley didn't have his body camera on at the time of the assault, according to The Post.

This combo of images provided by the Memphis Police Department shows, from left, officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith.
From left, officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith. Memphis Police Department (4)

In highly disturbing video footage released in January, multiple officers are seen beating Nichols for approximately three minutes. When he collapses to the ground, officers continue punching him in the head. Officers also used a taser and pepper spray on Nichols. After the attack, Nichols is slumped against a vehicle. He was transported to the hospital and died on Jan. 10.

Nichols' family attorneys Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci said a preliminary autopsy showed Nichols experienced "extensive bleeding." Police "brutalized him to the point he was unrecognizable," they said.

During an earlier press conference, Crump said that during the police encounter, Nichols cried out for his mother.

"He calls out three times for his mother, his last words on this earth are 'Mom, Mom, Mom,' he's screaming for her," said Crump. "He said, 'I just wanna go home.' "

A decertification hearing has not been scheduled at this time, according to The Times.

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