Tyre Nichols dies: Memphis Police Superintendent Dewayne Smith retires during fatal beating caught on video, prior to shooting

Memphis, Tenn. The Memphis Police Superintendent was on the scene when Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by officers who had retired with his entitlements the day before his dismissal hearing, according to documents filed to revoke his law enforcement certification.

Lt. Dewayne Smith was identified Friday in records obtained by the media as the officer who officials said earlier this month had retired before the hearing.

Some members of the Memphis City Council were displeased that the officer was allowed to retire before steps were taken to dismiss them, including Council Vice President J.B. Smiley Jr., who said it did not seem fair for the then-undetermined officer to keep the pension. And other benefits.

See also | 5 Memphis Police Officers Pled Not Guilty In Photo Nichols Death

“I don’t like the fact that his parents are paying this officer to go on and on and it’s worrying,” Smiley said.

The Nichols family’s attorney said the department should not have let Smith “cowardly avoid the consequences of his actions” and retire after 25 years.

“We call on the Memphis police and officials to do everything in their power to hold Lt. Smith and all those involved fully accountable,” Attorney Ben Crump said.

Seven more Memphis officers have been fired following Nichols’ death following a traffic stop on Jan. 7 and five are charged with second-degree murder. Smith was not charged in Nichols’ death.

Nichols, 29, was nearly pulled from his car when an officer threatened to shock him with a taser. He ran, but was pursued. Video showed five officers grabbing him and hitting him repeatedly with their fists, boots and batons as he screamed at his mother.

Retraction documents against Lt. Smith reveal additional details about his actions that night.

Smith heard Nichols say “I can’t breathe” as he was backed up against a squad car, but failed to obtain medical attention or remove his handcuffs, according to the report.

Read more | Documents showed that a Memphis police officer took pictures of the beaten Tyre Nichols and shared them with others

Smith also did not receive reports from other officers about the use of force and told Nichols’ family he was driving under the influence, the documents said, although there was no information to support the charge. Investigators said Smith determined without evidence that Nichols was on drugs or drunk, and had taken video of him telling Nichols “I did something” when he arrived on the scene.

Additionally, Smith did not wear his body camera—violating police department policy. His actions were caught on body cameras of other officers, the documents said.

The United States Department of Justice is currently reviewing the Memphis Police Department’s policies on the use of force, de-escalation strategies, and specialized units in response to Nichols’ death.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.


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