The Memphis Police Department confirmed that a sixth officer had been taken off duty in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols.
According to the NY Times, five officers were fired by the department earlier this month, soon after being placed on leave, and charged last week with second-degree murder in connection with Nichols’s death.
The sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, has been placed on administrative leave; according to the police report, he deployed a Taser that hit Nichols in the torso shortly after another officer pulled over Nichols, for reckless driving, on the night of Jan. 7.
A spokesman for the department confirmed on that Officer Hemphill was placed on leave on the same day that the other officers were suspended.
Police officers kicked Nichols in the head, pepper-sprayed him and hit him repeatedly with a baton after pulling him over,even as he showed no signs of fighting back on the videos of the attack that were released to the public.
Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died in a hospital three days after the encounter.
Officer Hemphill is white; the five officers who have been charged in the incident are Black.
Others involved have also been taken off duty. The Memphis Fire Department suspended two of its emergency medical technicians who treated Nichols, and a department investigation into their actions are pending but to be completed this week.