3 Memphis Fire Department personnel fired for not providing aid to Tyre Nichols

Written by on January 30, 2023

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Fire Department has fired three employees for failing to provide Tyre Nichols an “adequate patient assessment” when they were called to provide medical aid after he was beaten by police officers, the department said Monday. 

The two emergency medical technicians, Robert Long and JaMicheal Sandridge, and fire engine driver Lt. Michelle Whitaker were initially called to provide medical aid for Nichols being pepper sprayed.

“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,” a statement from MFD read. “After their initial interaction with Mr. Nichols, they requested an ambulance to respond.”

Long and Sandridge, according to the statement, arrived to the scene at 8:41 p.m. and an ambulance was sent out at 8:46 p.m., arriving at 8:55 p.m. By 9:08 p.m., Nichols was taken to St. Francis hospital.

Whitaker stayed in the engine the entire time.

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“After concluding our internal investigation, it was determined that EMT-B Long, EMT-A Sandridge and Lt. Whitaker violated numerous MFD policies and protocols,” the statement read. “As a result, EMT-B Long, EMT-A Sandridge and Lt. Whitaker have been terminated from the Memphis Fire Department.”

A video of Nichols being beaten is silent, taken from a SkyCop camera at Castlegate and Bear Creek Lane is about 30 minutes long. The camera swivels to show two officers violently pushing Nichols to the ground on his face as he tries to turn over. Then, a third officer appears to kick Nichols multiple times in the face.

The minutes stretch on as Nichols lies against the car, with more officers clustering around. At one point, Nichols appears to slump off of the car and lie fully on the ground. He rocks back and forth on the cement, with officers offering no aid.

It is not until 28 minutes into the video that a stretcher is brought for Nichols.

Criminal charges have not been filed against the firefighters.

As a result of investigations into Nichols’ death, a total of seven Memphis Police officers were relieved of duty, including five former officers who were fired Jan. 20. The five were indicted and currently face second-degree murder charges, along with assault and kidnapping charges.

The sixth officer was Preston Hemphill and the seventh officer’s identity has not been released, according to the Memphis Police Department. But “actions and inactions” of Hemphill and another officer “have been and continue to be the subject of this investigation since its inception on January 8, 2023,” according to police department. 

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