Lieutenant in Death of Tyr Nichols Resigns Before Dismissal Hearing – Records

(Reuters) – A Memphis police department lieutenant involved in the traffic stop that led to the murder of Tyre Nichols in January has submitted his resignation before a disciplinary hearing on his dismissal, media reported.

Documents obtained by several news outlets identify DeWayne Smith, a 25-year veteran of the city’s police force, as a lookout at the scene on the night of January 7, when police kicked and beat Nichols while he was handcuffed.

Nichols, an unarmed black man, died in hospital three days later.

The former lieutenant reportedly resigned on March 1, a day before officials at a hearing held in his absence determined he should have been fired.

Smith could not be contacted for comment.

The disciplinary charges against Smith alleged that he failed to give Nichols proper medical care, even when he heard the man say, “I can’t breathe.”

According to documents cited by news outlets, Smith was charged with negligence, making unauthorized public statements and violating department policy for not wearing a body camera.

“So that this lieutenant can retire thinking he’s going to escape the consequences of his actions… We’re not going to let that happen,” Nichols stepfather Rodney Wells said during an event in New York on Saturday.

Five officers, all black, were charged with second-degree murder, assault, kidnapping, misconduct and harassment in connection with Nichols’ death. They all pleaded not guilty.

Smith was not charged with Nichols’ death.

Authorities said a total of 13 police officers were under investigation in connection with Nichols’ arrest. Three members of the Memphis Fire Department were also fired and one suspended.

(Reporting by Maria Caspani; editing by Daniel Wallis)

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