Ex-Memphis police officer in Tyre Nichols’s death was retired with benefits before being fired

The Memphis police supervisor on the scene when Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by officers retired with his benefits the day before a hearing to terminate him.

The Memphis police officer who was on the scene of Tyre Nichols’ death by officers in January, retired with his benefits just days before a hearing to dismiss him.

According to documents to revoke his law enforcement certificate, Lt. DeWayneSmith was identified Friday as the officer that retired shortly before his termination hearing.

Memphis City Council members expressed dismay that an officer could retire before they attempted to fire him. JB Smiley Jr., vice-chairman of the council, said that it was unfair for the officer to keep his pension and other benefits.

Smiley stated, “I don’t like that [Nichols] parents pay this officer to continue and live and that’s troubling.”


This photo was provided by the Nichols Family and shows Tyre Nichols who was stopped by police in January. He was then fatally beaten.

Ben Crump, the attorney representing Nichols’ family said Smith should not have been allowed to “cowardly ignore the consequences of what he did” and retire.

Crump stated, “We ask for Memphis police officials and officers to do all they can to hold Lt. Smith accountable and all those involved completely.”

Six other Memphis police officers were also fired in connection with the fatal traffic stop that led Nichols to his death. Five of the officers, Demetrius Haley and Desmond Mills Jr. along with Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, III, were charged with second-degree murder . Smith has not been charged.

On Jan. 7, Nichols was stopped for “reckless driving”. Officers pulled him from his car and threatened to shock him using a Taser. Officers said that Nichols tried to flee the scene by foot after a “confrontation” during the traffic stop. As Nichols screamed for the mother, officers caught up to him and started to kick and punch him.

Memphis Police Department Officers Demetrius Hley, Tadarrius Bean and Emmitt Martin III were terminated and charged with their roles in the arrest of deceased Tyre Nicks.

Nichols complained of having shortness in breath during the beating. He died Jan. 10 after being taken to the hospital in critical condition.

According to the report, Smith’s decertification papers against Nichols show that he heard Nichols say, “I can’t breathe” while he was being propped up against a squad vehicle. However, Smith did not give Nichols medical attention or remove his handcuffs.

Smith did not also receive any reports from other officers regarding the use of force. He told Nichols’ relatives that Nichols was driving while impaired, despite the fact that there was no evidence to support the charge. Smith claimed that Nichols was drunk or under the influence of drugs, according to investigators. Smith was seen telling Nichols that he had “taken something”.


Tyre Nickles was punched, kicked and hit with a baton during Jan. 7’s traffic stop that resulted in his death.

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Smith’s actions were captured on the bodies of other officers because Smith wasn’t wearing his body camera. This was a violation to the police department policy.

The U.S. The U.S. Department of Justice is currently reviewing Memphis Police Department’s policies regarding force use, de-escalation strategies, and specialized units as a response to Nichols’s death.

This report was contributed by the Associated Press.

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