Former Memphis police officer took photos of Tyre Nichols after beating, documents say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – After Memphis police officers severely beat Tyre Nichols, 29, before he died, one took photos of the bloodied man with his personal cellphone and sent it to multiple people, newly released documents show.

A statement of charges, obtained through a public records request to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), was sent by the Memphis Police Department in its request to have former officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Desmond Mills and Emmitt Martin III decertified.

POST is Tennessee's police certification body, which also decertifies officers and prevents them from working in the state at another department.

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"On (Haley's) personal cell phone, (Haley) took two photographs while standing in front of the obviously injured subject after he was handcuffed," the document reads. Haley "admitted (he) shared the photo in a text message with five people; one civilian employee, two MPD officers, and one female acquaintance."

The memo says a sixth person was later found to have received the same photograph.

Haley is one of six officers fired from the police department in recent weeks. He is also one of five who were indicted on multiple criminal charges, including second-degree murder and aggravated assault, in Nichols' death.

The Memphis Police Department and Haley's attorney, Michael Stengel, declined to comment Tuesday afternoon on the document, which was first reported by The New York Times.

Nichols was taken to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition on Jan. 7 after police pulled him over for a traffic violation. He died three days later.

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Nichols was pulled from his car as officers yelled a number of commands and profanities at him, all while Nichols calmly asked "What did I do?" At one point, officers began to pepper-spray Nichols before he jumps up and runs from the officers.

Former officer Preston Hemphill fired his taser at Nichols, apparently hitting him before Nichols shed his jacket, along with the prongs, and continued to run.

Officers caught up to Nichols about 100 yards from his destination – his mother's home – and tackled him again.

After being restrained, officers began to kick, punch and pepper-spray Nichols, who can be heard calling for his mother at one point in an officer's body camera footage.

The footage, which included four videos from body cameras and a SkyCop camera, was released Jan. 27. Widespread peaceful protests took hold in the city, and a number of vigils have been hosted in his honor.

Calls to reintroduce the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, along with a number of local police reform ordinances, followed. His funeral on Feb. 1 featured a number of high-profile guests, including Vice President Kamala Harris, who echoed calls for national police reform.

Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather, Rodney Wells, have retained civil rights attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci. Neither Crump nor Romanucci could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Josh Keefe is an investigative reporter with The Tennessean.

Lucas Finton is a news reporter with The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter @LucasFinton.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Tyre Nichols case: Former Memphis cop texted photos after beating