Decertification process begins for former MPD officers connected to Tyre Nichols’ death

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 6:05 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 6:08 PM CST

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The five former Memphis police officers charged with Tyre Nichols’ death could soon be without their state certification, preventing them from being able to police in the state of Tennessee.

The former officers Emmitt Martin, Desmond Mills, Justin Smith, Demetrius Haley and Tadarrius Bean were all terminated from the force on Jan. 20, following an internal MPD hearing for the policies they violated during the Jan. 7 traffic stop that resulted in Nichols’ death.

The request to decertify the five was made by Chief CJ Davis to the State of Tennessee’s Peace Officers Standards and Training (“POST”) Commission five days later.

“A notice to appear before the POST subcommittee is in the process of being served on the former officers,” said Kevin Walters with Tennessee’s Dept. of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI), the agency over the POST Commission. He continued, “The decertification hearings will take place at the next available POST Commission meeting following 30 days after service of the notice.”

An exact date for these hearings has not been determined yet.

The decertification documents obtained by Action News 5 Tuesday detail each officers’ role in the traffic stop.

We received the documents just hours before Nichols’ parents, Rodney and RowVaughn Wells, were recognized by President Joe Biden during this year’s State of the Union address.

“The police need to have some kind of accountability,” RowVaughn said. “My son was just coming home. He wasn’t bothering anybody. He didn’t even break any laws, but they just decided they wanted to go rogue on my son.”

Walters with TDCI said grounds for decertification can “include, among other reasons, criminal convictions, suspension for thirty (30) days or longer, resigning in lieu of termination, resigning with disciplinary action pending that could have resulted in termination, or been discharged by the employing law enforcement agency for disciplinary reasons.”

The sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, who was fired for his connection to Tyre Nichols has not been requested to be decertified, though the grounds laid out by TDCI show he could face the same fate as the other five.

A reminder that seven additional MPD officers, unknown at this time, are being investigated for their involvement in the Jan. 7 traffic stop.

The five will have the option to bring evidence and legal counsel to their POST committee hearing to appeal the process if they see fit.

They also have the option to voluntarily surrender their certification to the POST Commission before or during their hearing.

These five former officers are also due in court for the first time on Feb. 17.

We reached out to the defense attorneys for former officers Haley, Martin, and Mills for a reaction to the decertification requests but did not hear back.

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