(MENAFN) Lt. DeWayne Smith, the Memphis police supervisor on scene when Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by officers, retired with his benefits the day before a hearing to fire him, according to documents filed to revoke his law enforcement certification. Smith was identified as the officer in question in records obtained by media outlets. The revelation has sparked outrage, with some Memphis City Council members upset that an officer was allowed to retire before steps could be taken to fire them.
Nichols, 29, was pulled roughly from his car during a traffic stop on Jan. 7, and was chased down after running away. Video footage showed five officers held him down and repeatedly struck him with their fists, boots, and batons as he screamed for his mother. Nichols died as a result of the beating, and seven Memphis officers were fired following the incident. Five of them are charged with second-degree murder, but Smith is not charged in Nichols' death.
The attorney for Nichols' family, Ben Crump, has called for the Memphis police and officials to hold Lt. Smith and all those involved fully accountable. He said that the department should not have allowed Smith to "cowardly sidestep the consequences of his actions" and retire after 25 years. Crump's statement was supported by Memphis City Council's vice-chairman JB Smiley Jr., who said it was troubling that Smith could keep his pension and other benefits.
The documents filed to revoke Lt. Smith's law enforcement certification reveal additional details about his actions that night. The decertification documents call for Smith's certification to be revoked due to his "gross negligence, dereliction of duty, willful misconduct, and/or other conduct that would constitute a felony offense." Smith's retirement means that he will continue to receive his benefits, despite the serious allegations against him.
The incident has once again brought to light the issue of police brutality and the lack of accountability for officers who commit such crimes. The public outcry over the incident has led to calls for reform within the police department and a push for greater accountability for law enforcement officers. The case also highlights the need for transparency and accountability in police practices, and the importance of prosecuting officers who violate the law.
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