Four of the five men charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols faced past disciplinary action according to documents secured through a public records request.
The Commercial Appeal filed the request and successfully obtained the records which give a look into the law enforcement careers of Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean and Emmitt Martin III.
Bean was the only officer who reportedly did not face any sort of reprimand during his employment with the Memphis Police Department. The other four appeared to have problems remembering to report things that happened during their shifts.
Haley was reportedly written up in late 2021 after it was discovered he did not file a response to resistance form after going hands-on with a suspect. These forms are required when any officer is forced to use a part of their body to “compel compliance” of a suspect or subject, according to department policy.
In February 2021, a woman filed a complaint against Haley, alleging that he had grabbed her “by the arm and turned her around to be handcuffed as she resisted arrest.” The officer admitted that he knew about the department’s policy, but according to the disciplinary hearing summary he “had simply mistaken, in this case, as to the amount of force necessary to require a blue team entry.”
Following this incident, Memphis Police Lt. William Acred complimented Haley as a “hard-working officer,” claimed he “routinely makes good decisions” and believed “this was a limited event.” One month later Haley lost control of his police cruiser while rounding a turn. He ended up hitting a curb and a stop sign, but the charges were dismissed. He was reportedly responding to a call for backup at the time.
Mills Jr., had a similar story, finding himself in trouble after failing to file a response to resistance form for taking a woman to the ground during an arrest. “Officer Mills stated he was familiar with completing the response to resistance document in Blue Team, but he did not realize it applied to his actions in this cause,” read his disciplinary hearing summary. Another reprimand took place when he dropped his digital personal assistant, resulting in it being run over by another vehicle.
Martin III faced more serious discipline after reportedly failing to check the backseat of his cruiser, which resulted in a three-day unpaid suspension. A silver revolver was located in the back seat of the vehicle following the end of his shift. Additionally, he faced another three-day no pay suspension for not taking a report during an alleged domestic violence call in 2020, as is required not only by department policy but also state law.
Officer James Schmedes described Martin III as “one of the shift’s top producers” at the latter’s hearing.
Smith was reprimanded when he caused an accident while trying to pass another driver in traffic in the summer of 2021. He reportedly crashed into the rear of the car he was attempting to pass which caused it to spin out and strike another vehicle. He was ordered to attend remedial driver’s training.
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