A sixth officer involved in the beating death of Tyre Nichols was relieved of duty, according to Karen Rudolph, a spokeswoman for the Memphis Police department.
Former Memphis police officer Preston Hemphill was also a member of the now notorious SCORPION unit, which had been disbanded following the release of the more than hour-long video that provided details from the deadly encounter. Hemphill was apparently disciplined shortly after the January 7 incident.
An attorney for Hemphill confirmed that he was the third officer to arrive on the scene of the initial stop but said that Hemphill was not present during the second stop, which occurred after Nichols had fled.
Body camera footage released last week showed Hemphill deploy a taser on Nichols as he fled the first traffic stop.
Rudolph noted that information on Hemphill was not released earlier because he was not fired and an internal investigation was ongoing. Typically, disciplinary actions are revealed to the public at the conclusion of an investigation.
Civil rights attorney and lawyer for the Nichols family Ben Crump questioned why Hemphill has not been charged.
"It certainly begs the question why the white officer involved in this brutal attack was shielded and protected from the public eye, and to date, from sufficient discipline and accountability," he said.
The district attorney's office has not filed any charges against Hemphill or other officers, excluding the five currently charged individuals, who were on the scene, but it has not ruled it out.
"We are looking at all of the officers and first responders at the scene," said Erica Williams, the Shelby County District Attorney's Office spokesperson. "They could face charges, or they could not, but we are looking at everyone."
Two deputies at the Shelby County's Sheriff's Office were also placed on leave without pay as an investigation is underway, and two workers at the Memphis Fire Department were relieved of their duties following the conclusion of an internal investigation.
Nichols' stepfather, Rodney Wells, is calling for all officers involved in the beating to be held accountable.
"Questions were raised before the video was released, I raised those questions," he said. "I just felt there was more than five officers out there. Now, five were charged with murder because they were the main participants, but there were five or six other offices out there that didn't do anything to render any aid. So they are just as culpable as the officers who threw the blows."