Memphis police supervisor at the sceneHe was beaten to death by retired officers with benefits the day before his dismissal hearing, according to documents filed to revoke his law enforcement certification.
Lt. Dewayne Smith was identified in records obtained by media outlets Friday as one of the officers who retired before his termination hearing earlier this month.
Some members of the Memphis City Council were upset that an officer was allowed to retire before taking action to fire him, including Council Vice-Chairman JB Smiley Jr., who said the then-unnamed officer did not appear to be able to keep the pension. and other benefits.
“I don’t like that his parents are paying this officer to go and live and that’s troubling,” Smiley said.
City of Memphis via AP
Attorneys for Nichols’ family said the department should not have allowed Smith to “cowardly avoid the consequences of his actions” and retire after 25 years.
“We urge Memphis police and officials to do everything in their power to hold Lt. Smith and everyone involved fully accountable,” said attorney Ben Crump.
Seven other Memphis officers were fired after Nichols died following a Jan. 7 traffic stop, and five of themwith second-degree murder. Smith has not been charged in Nichols’ death.
Nichols, 29, was roughly dragged from his car as an officer threatened to taser him. He ran but was chased.Five officers held him down and hit him repeatedly with their fists, boots and batons as he screamed for his mother.
Decertification documents against Lt. Smith reveal additional details about his actions that night.
Smith heard Nichols say “I can’t breathe” as he was held up against a squad car, but failed to get him medical attention or remove his handcuffs, according to the report.
Smith also did not receive use-of-force reports from other officers and told Nichols’ family that he was driving under the influence even though there was no information to support the allegations, documents said. Investigators said Smith decided without evidence that Nichols was drugged or drunk and videotaped him telling Nichols “you took something” when he arrived at the scene.
Additionally, Smith was not wearing his body camera — in violation of police department policy. Other officers’ body cameras captured his actions, the documents said.
US Department of JusticeMemphis Police Department use of force, de-escalation strategies and special unit policies in response to Nichols’ death.