Cop charged in Tyre Nichols' death texted battered pic of him to 'at least five people': report
Photo: Nichols family given to media outlets

One of the former Memphis police officers charged in the beating death of Tyre Nichols texted a picture of him beaten and dazed on the pavement to "at least five people," The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

"As Tyre Nichols sat propped against a police car, bloodied, dazed and handcuffed after being beaten by a group of Memphis police officers, one of those officers took a picture of him and sent it to at least five people, the Memphis Police Department said in a document released by the state on Tuesday," reported Jessica Jaglois, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, and Mitch Smith. "The document was sent to the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission as part of a request last month for the regulatory agency to decertify five officers involved in the beating. Those officers have since been fired and charged with second-degree murder in Mr. Nichols’s death."

The former officer in question, Demetrius Haley, admitted to "sending a photograph of Mr. Nichols to ... two fellow officers, a civilian employee of the department and a female acquaintance," along with one other unidentified person, according to the report.

This comes after the police department released a series of body camera and aerial videos showing the beating, in which Nichols, who had been pulled over for reckless driving, initially sounded calm and compliant, but as the beatings started, tried to run away, then screamed for his mother as officers attacked him so aggressively that they can be seen accidentally pepper-spraying themselves. EMTs who arrived on scene are also accused of failing to administer proper care, with two technicians being fired. Nichols died in the hospital three days later.

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"While on the police force, Mr. Haley was reprimanded in 2021 for failing to file a report after grabbing someone by the arm while making an arrest, according to records released by the city this week," said the report. "Mr. Haley said at a disciplinary hearing that he had been mistaken about 'the amount of force necessary to require' such documentation, and a lieutenant spoke on his behalf, saying he worked hard and 'routinely makes good decisions.'"

The death of Nichols has sparked national debate over the utility of elite anti-crime units like the Memphis "SCORPION unit" responsible for the incident, since disbanded. These units are often created in response to local or national worries about increases in crime, but often have some of the most excessive force complaints and supervision problems.