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Family of Tyre Nichols Outraged By Lt. Smith’s Retirement Before Disciplinary Hearing

The family of Tyre Nichols is deeply disturbed that Lt. Dewayne Smith of the Memphis Police Department was allowed to retire, one day before his disciplinary hearing for his involvement in the death of Tyre Nichols. Smith was the highest-ranking officer on the scene of the brutal beating that ultimately led to the 29-year-old’s death.[0] Investigators believe he did not render or direct immediate medical attention when Nichols said “I can’t breathe”, nor did he fully assess the scene or examine the facts behind the officers’ false narrative.[1]

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Nichols family, expressed his shock over the Memphis Police Department’s decision in a tweet, saying “It is extremely disturbing that [the Memphis Police Department] accepted the retirement of this senior officer!”

Video of the incident shows a group of officers dragging Nichols out of his car, pepper spraying him and then tasing him.[2] When he fled the scene, another group of officers met him on the corner and proceeded to punch, kick and tase him repeatedly.[3] Five Black officers were terminated and now face criminal charges, due to the incident.[2] Two Memphis police officers and three members of the Memphis Fire Department were dismissed due to their involvement in the incident.[4]

The Nichols family and their legal team have urged Memphis police and officials to do everything in their power to hold Lt. Smith and all of those involved fully accountable and not allow Lt. Smith to cowardly sidestep the consequences of his actions.[0] By resigning instead of facing his disciplinary board to defend himself, he has not avoided accountability or been spared from reckoning.[0]

0. “Documents show MPD lieutenant retired day before disciplinary hearing over Tyre Nichols’ death” Action News 5, 17 Mar. 2023, https://www.actionnews5.com/2023/03/17/documents-show-mpd-lieutenant-retired-day-before-termination-hearing-over-tyre-nichols-death

1. “Police supervisor in Tyre Nichols' death retired with benefits day prior to termination hearing: reports” Yahoo News, 19 Mar. 2023, https://news.yahoo.com/police-supervisor-tyre-nichols-death-001645916.html

2. “Beaufort responds to the death of Tyre Nichols. Can it happen here?” Charleston Post Courier, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.postandcourier.com/hilton-head/beaufort-responds-to-the-death-of-tyre-nichols-can-it-happen-here/article_1d130474-bdf0-11ed-8fd8-47b434c81637.html

3. “What’s the Hold Up? Release of Additional Tyre Nichols Footage Delayed” Yahoo Life, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/hold-release-additional-tyre-nichols-140930889.html

4. “Memphis lieutenant, involved in Tyre Nichols’ death, retires a day before being fired” MyStateline.com, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.mystateline.com/news/national/memphis-lieutenant-involved-in-tyre-nichols-death-retires-a-day-before-being-fired/

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