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Fired Memphis EMT said police impeded Tire Nichols’ care by refusing to remove his handcuffs

Poradmin

Mar 4, 2023

A fired Memphis EMT who responded to the fatal beating of Tire Nichols testified that police were «impeding patient care» when they refused to remove Nichols’ handcuffs.

Former Memphis Fire Department EMT Robert Long detailed the January 7 incident in front of the Tennessee Board of Emergency Medical Services on Friday.

Long said he and another EMT, JaMichael Sandridge, received a call for an assault on a police officer. When they arrived, the officer said his partner had pepper-sprayed him but he didn’t need medical attention, Long said.

Fired from Memphis EMT Robert Long.Memphis Fire Department

The officer directed Long and Sandridge to another scene where police had Nichols in custody.

Long testified that he did a visual assessment of Nichols when he arrived and noted that Nichols had a bump on his head, a split lip and a dry, bloody nose. She said she asked Nichols what happened and Nichols replied, «I want to stand up and have the handcuffs removed.»

The former EMT said he asked police what happened and was told: «He ran away from us.»

At one point, Long said, «MPD leans over the patient to his face and says loudly that the patient isn’t going anywhere and he won’t be uncuffed, impeding patient care.»

According to Long, he tried several times to take Nichols’ vital signs, but Nichols kept rolling away from him. Long told the board that because Nichols was handcuffed, it was difficult to check his vital signs.

Eventually, Long said he called an ambulance.

Nichols, 29, was taken to the hospital in critical condition. He died three days later.

Memphis police initially said they pulled over Nichols for reckless driving, but Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said her office found no evidence to substantiate the claim. In a video released in January, officers apparently pepper-sprayed him, beat him, beat him with a baton and kicked him in the face while he was in custody.

Preliminary findings in an autopsy that a forensic pathologist performed on Nichols’s family show that he was severely beaten before he died, his lawyers said.

Five officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith, were fired Jan. 20 after an administrative investigation found they had violated the department’s use-of-force policy. All were charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression, and one count of aggravated assault.

Two other officers, Preston Hemphill and an unidentified seventh officer, were «relieved of duty» for their involvement.

Long, Sandridge and another EMT, Lt. Michelle Whitaker, were fired after an internal investigation found they violated multiple department policies and protocols in their patient response to Nichols.