March 19, 2023 at 08:15
The Memphis police supervisor on the scene when Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by officers in January retired with his benefits the day before a hearing to fire him.
Lt. DeWayne Smith was identified Friday as the officer who retired just before his termination hearing, according to documents filed to revoke his law enforcement certification.
Members of the Memphis City Council have expressed frustration that an officer was allowed to retire before efforts to fire him.
The council's vice-chairman JB Smiley Jr. said it did not seem fair that the officer could keep his pension and other benefits.
"I just don’t like the fact that [Nichols'] parents are paying this officer to go on and live and that’s troubling," Smiley said.
TYRE NICHOLS CASE: MEMPHIS JUDGE DELAYS RELEASE OF VIDEO AND RECORDSThe attorney for Nichols' family, Ben Crump, said the police department should not have allowed Smith to "cowardly sidestep the consequences of his actions" and retire.
Seven other Memphis police officers were fired for the traffic stop that led to Nichols' death.
Five of those officers — Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith and Emmitt Martin III — were charged with second-degree murder in connection with Nichols' death, but Smith has not been charged.
Officers claimed a "confrontation occurred" during the traffic stop, and Nichols attempted to flee the scene on foot.
Investigators said Smith purported, without evidence, that Nichols was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Video from the scene captured Smith telling Nichols "you done took something."
The U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing the Memphis Police Department's policies on the use of force, de-escalation strategies and specialized units in response to Nichols' death.