‘There was nothing I could have done,’ to save Nichols, says fired EMT

By , Daily Memphian Updated: February 14, 2024 5:40 PM CT | Published: February 14, 2024 9:29 AM CT

The notes detailing the immediate internal investigation are a part of the thousands of pages of documents the City of Memphis released Wednesday, Feb. 14. 

‘There was nothing I could have done,’ fired EMT says on Nichols’ death

12:44 PM CT, February 14

A Memphis Fire Department private told administrative investigators that his failure to immediately render aid to Tyre Nichols on the scene of the Jan. 7, 2023, beating was because he did not think anything he could have done would have prevented Nichols’ death. 

“From what we gathered on scene, there was nothing I could have done that would have prevented that patient’s death,” JaMichael Sandridge told administrative investigators when asked how he was not in violation of a policy that mandates EMTs determine the nature and extent of a patient’s illness or injury and administer first-aid treatment.

<strong>JaMicheal Sandridge</strong>

JaMicheal Sandridge

Sandridge’s comments to investigators fit a pattern of actions from the four MFD personnel disciplined — three fired and one suspended — for their actions the night of the beating.

The investigators’ findings show Sandridge, Private Robert Long, Firefighter Paramedic Jesse Guy and Lt. Michelle Whitaker failed to obtain crucial information about Nichols’ condition when they arrived on the scene.

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Former officers downplayed use of force in Nichols’ traffic stop

11:00 AM CT, February 14

Response-to-resistance forms filed by the former Memphis Police Department officers who beat Tyre Nichols last year describe their own actions as “soft hand” techniques aimed at getting him into custody. 

A since-retired supervisor who reviewed the forms said he did not see any policy violations in the officers’ body-worn camera video footage.

“I observed no policy violations after reviewing the BWC,” Lt. Dewayne Smith wrote on multiple forms, which were part of the thousands of pages related to the investigation into Nichols’ death that the City of Memphis released Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The forms detail the officers’ descriptions of Nichols’ driving before he was pulled over and say he was “actively resistant.”

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Hours after the stop, MPD lieutenant cited excessive force

10:22 AM CT, February 14

Case notes filed by a lieutenant in the Memphis Police Department’s Internal Services Bureau said that just hours after the traffic stop, they knew the force exerted on Tyre Nichols was excessive.

The notes detailing the immediate internal investigation are a part of the thousands of pages of documents the City of Memphis released Wednesday, Feb. 14. 

Lt. M.Y. Williams with ISB wrote that Lt. Dewayne Smith, supervisor of the now-defunct SCORPION unit, said that Nichols was on a ventilator and had “a bump on his head” following the interaction with officers.

The notes continue, saying that the body-worn camera footage reviewed shortly after the stop showed that Nichols’ complied with getting on the ground at the scene of the initial traffic stop, at Raines and Ross roads in Southeast Memphis.

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‘Murderers and punks:’ Emails to MPD criticize officers’ actions

9:46 AM CT, February 14

Weeks after Tyre Nichols’ death, at least two citizens sent emails to the Memphis Police Department, calling them “killers” and “murderers.”

Both emails were part of additional case documents the City of Memphis released Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The emails were sent Jan. 27, 2023. 

“Protect and serve has become beat and kill,” one of the emails reads. “Five on one, really thug cops, the young man is dead forever, the mother and father are without their son, who’s next my son? Better stay out of Memphis will spend tourist money elsewhere.”

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Three former officers charged in Nichols’ death were new to specialized unit

11:41 AM CT, February 14

Three of the five former officers who were part of the SCORPION Unit at the time of Tyre Nichols’ death had been members of its parent unit, the Organized Crime Unit, for less than a year.

The SCORPION Unit was formed in November 2021. 

  • Tadarrius Bean was assigned to OCU Aug. 27, 2022.
  • Demetrius Haley was assigned Aug. 20, 2022.
  • Emmitt Martin III was assigned July 2, 2022.
  • Desmond Mills Jr. was assigned May 30, 2020.
  • Justin Smith was assigned Oct. 3, 2020.

A document that detailed OCU start dates for 19 MPD officers was released Wednesday, Feb. 14, as part of additional documents related to the investigation into Nichols’ death.

Preston Hemphill, who was fired from the department but not criminally charged, was assigned to OCU Oct. 1, 2022.

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Witness: ‘He laid there too long needing help’

9:32 AM CT, February 14

A statement from a civilian witness to the Jan. 7, 2023, beating of Tyre Nichols was among thousands of pages of documents released by the City of Memphis Wednesday, Feb. 14.

The witness described a lack of care from the officers for Nichols, describing how they lifted his arms and then let his arms fall – with no resistance – to the ground.

”Even if you have a fire truck at the end of the street, why weren’t they up there regardless of what the guy did? You know what I’m saying,” the witness statement said. “If he was needing help, he laid there too long needing help with nobody right there.”

The eight-page interview runs through a 71-page document that is heavily redacted. It details what the witness saw on the night of the stop during which the now-indicted, former SCORPION team members beat Nichols.

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City’s additional Nichols documents don’t include Garrity statements

12:21 PM CT, February 14

The City of Memphis released Wednesday morning, Feb. 14, thousands of pages of additional documents related to Tyre Nichols.

Not included in Wednesday’s document release are Garrity statements and Garrity-adjacent materials, including the officers' statements given during internal investigations.

“Garrity statements” is the term for materials that are exempt from criminal cases against the officers.

Nichols, 29, died Jan. 10, 2023, three days after Memphis Police officers beat him during a traffic stop.

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Tyre Nichols city of Memphis
Julia Baker

Julia Baker

Julia Baker covers Memphis and Shelby County’s law enforcement agencies and is a member of The Daily Memphian’s public safety reporting team. A lifelong Memphian, Julia graduated from the University of Memphis in 2021. Other publications and organizations she has written for include Chalkbeat, Memphis Flyer, Memphis Parent magazine and Memphis magazine.

Aarron Fleming

Aarron Fleming

Aarron Fleming covers Memphis and Shelby County’s court system and is a member of The Daily Memphian’s public safety reporting team. He formerly covered education and earned his B.A. in journalism from the University of Memphis.

Ben Wheeler

Ben Wheeler

Ben Wheeler is an investigative reporter and is a member of The Daily Memphian’s public safety reporting team. He previously worked at the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan and Herald-Citizen.

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