A Memphis police officer took photos of Tyre Nichols as he was handcuffed severely injured after the beating, and then texted it to six people, according to documents released by Tennessee officials on Tuesday.
As Nichols sat on the ground handcuffed and struggling not to fall over, Demetrius Haley took out his personal cellphone and took two photos of an "obviously injured" Nichols, the documents from Memphis police said. Haley later admitted that he sent the photo to five people, including two other Memphis police officers, a civilian employee, and a woman acquaintance.
Further investigation revealed that Haley sent the photo to a sixth person as well, according to the documents.
Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx employee who was an avid skater and photographer, was violently beaten by Memphis police during a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Body camera footage shows that the officers repeatedly kicked and punched Nichols in the face, pepper-sprayed him, and hit him with a baton as he cried out for his mother.
Nichols was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He died three days later.
The decertification documents released Tuesday contain a litany of department policy violations that Haley and four of the officers allegedly committed in their violent treatment of Nichols. They used excessive force on Nichols, who was unarmed, and showed a lack of concern for him afterward, the documents state. And in addition to officers laughing about their involvement in the beating, multiple others also omitted information and made false statements about their actions in their reports.
An early statement from the Memphis Police Department characterized the beating as a "confrontation," and the officers involved were "routinely relieved of duty" during an investigation by state authorities.
Two weeks after the incident, five officers, including Haley, were fired for using excessive force when arresting Nichols. They were later charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression.
A sixth police officer involved in Nichols's arrest was fired in early February. Three Memphis Fire Department employees — two EMTs and a lieutenant — who responded to the scene were also fired. The two paramedics had their licenses suspended as well.