A few weeks after five Memphis Police officers administered a fatal beating to Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7, 2023, rumors began circulating that there may have been a personal aspect to the case. On Feb. 2, I reported:
It began with a rumor.
Sir Maejor, an ethnically black actor and model with a fair complexion due to albinism, tweeted Monday that “I am being told that Tyre Nichols was in a relationship with and worked at a Memphis @FedEx with #MemphisPolice Demetrius Halys’s ex-girlfriend & baby mama.” Not only that, but “After the beating Officer Halys took a pictures of #TyreNichols face and sent it to his babymama.”
The following day, Maejor added a disclaimer in all caps: “THIS IS MERELY SPECULATIONS AND OR A RUMOR AT THIS POINT — THIS INFORMATION HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED.” …
Now, newly released documents sent to a Tennessee state board as part of the decertification process for the five former officers confirm that Demetrius Hall did indeed photograph Nichols after the beating, and he sent the images to at least six people, including “one female acquaintance.”
In January, the Memphis Police Dept. sent a statement of charges to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) in support of its request that the board decertify the former officers involved in the illegal beating: Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith, Desmond Mills, and Emmitt Martin III.
WREG Memphis obtained the documents and included a screenshot of a section in their report:
In the documents for Demetrius Haley, the files note:
“On your personal cell phone, you took two photographs while standing in front of the obviously injured subject after he was handcuffed. In your Garrity statement, you admitted you shared the photo in a text message with five (5) people; one civilian employee, two MPD officers, and one female acquaintance.”
The documents also state that Haley transmitted the photo to a sixth person, in violation of police policy.
The confirmation of a possible personal aspect to the beating is leading some to question the official narrative — that Tyre Nichols was just another unarmed black man murdered by poorly trained, brutal, racist police officers.
Former NAACP counsel and Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation Sherrilyn Ifill took to Twitter to demand the full story be told:
I have tried to ignore the rumors that this attack on #TyreNichols was targeted and not random. But the confirmation that this ofcr sent this photo to other ofcrs and “a female acquaintance” has raised alarm bells. We need the entire story. ASAP. https://t.co/bwhiqcqqKV
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@SIfill_) February 8, 2023
“It’s alleged that Tyre had a relationship with one of the officers girlfriend [sic]. This was a revenge murder by 5 Black thugs. not a cop problem. not a race problem. not a fraternity problem,” notes “food activist” Devine Davidson. (She ascribes the problem to “patriarchal dominance” and “toxic masculinity” in the black community.)
It will be interesting if this turns out to be the case. The Tyre Nichols beating has become the latest rallying cry for leftist authoritarians in their attempts to centralize federal control over your local police department. But if in fact the incident was a street-gang beatdown of a romantic rival — if it’s only tangentially related to law enforcement because the MPD somehow failed to screen out these thugs — the Tyre Nichols chapter of the “systemic police brutality and racism” narrative is going to collapse.