National News from ABC

Two former Memphis police officers who arrested Tyre Nichols had been previously reprimanded

amphotora/Getty Images

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — Two of the former Memphis police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols were previously reprimanded for not filing required paperwork after forcibly arresting individuals, ABC News has learned.


ABC News obtained personnel records for Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith, all of whom were fired from the Memphis Police Department last month before being arrested and charged with several felonies, including second-degree murder.

The records show Mills failed to submit a “Response to Resistance” form after using force to assist other officers with arresting a woman in 2019. According to the case summary, the woman was apparently drunk and resisting arrest, so Mills “grabbed [her] by the arms, taking her down to the ground.” He then “placed her arms behind her back and another officer put handcuffs on her,” the case summary stated. Mills later received a written reprimand for not filling out the “Response to Resistance” form, according to the records.

The records show Haley also failed to submit a “Response to Resistance” form after using force to assist other officers with arresting a woman in 2021. According to the case summary, Haley “grabbed [her] by the arm and turned her around to be handcuff (sic) as she resisted arrest.” He then “helped another officer with putting [her] in the backseat of a squad car,” the case summary stated. The woman blamed one of the other officers on scene for dislocating her shoulder during the encounter. Haley later received a written reprimand for not filling out the “Response to Resistance” form, according to the records.

Haley, Mills, Bean, Martin and Smith were involved in the traffic stop that allegedly led to Nichols’ death last month. Nichols was arrested in Memphis on the evening of Jan. 7, after officers attempted to make a traffic stop for reckless driving near the area of Raines Road and Ross Road, according to separate press releases from the Memphis Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. A confrontation unfolded as the officers approached Nichols, who ran away. Another confrontation occurred when the officers pursued Nichols and ultimately apprehended him, police said.

After the incident, Nichols “complained of having a shortness of breath” and was transported by ambulance to Memphis’ St. Francis Hospital in critical condition, according to police.

Due to Nichols’ condition, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office was contacted and TBI special agents were subsequently requested to conduct a use-of-force investigation, according to the TBI.

Nichols “succumbed to his injuries” on Jan. 10, the TBI said.

Local, state and federal authorities continue to investigate the Jan. 7 traffic stop and Nichols’ death.

Video of the incident, comprised of footage from the city’s surveillance cameras and the former officers’ body-worn cameras, was made public last Friday. The graphic video, which shows the officers beating Nichols, has sparked nationwide outrage.

According to a preliminary independent autopsy commissioned by Nichols’ family and released by their lawyers, he suffered from “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.”

Neither the independent autopsy report nor official autopsy report have been publicly released.

Bean, Haley, Martin, Mills and Smith were part of the SCORPION Unit, an acronym for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods launched in 2021 by the Memphis Police Department. The goal of the unit was created to address violent crimes in the city in a 50-person unit that operates seven days a week. According to the Memphis Police Department, the five former officers violated policies for use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid. Other officers are under investigation for department violations as well.

All five were booked into Shelby County Jail on Jan. 26. Bonds were set at $350,000 for Martin and Haley, and $250,000 for Bean, Mills and Smith, according to a TBI press release. Online jail records show they have since been released after posting bond.

Mills’ lawyer, Blake Ballin, and the attorney for Martin, William Massey, told reporters last month that their clients were “devastated” about the charges and will be pleading not guilty. Although there have been no public announcement of other defense attorneys representing the officers, Ballin and Massey told reporters that all former officers are currently represented.

A funeral for Nichols will be held in Memphis on Wednesday.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

On Air Now

Now Playing On X101

Download The X101 App