“Not given adequate information”: Memphis fire union defends EMTs fired over Tyre Nichols’ death

Tyre Nichols succumbed to his injuries three days after he was brutally beaten by Memphis police officers (Image via Twitter @/KyleDavisForMA)
Tyre Nichols succumbed to his injuries three days after he was brutally beaten by Memphis police officers (Image via Twitter @/KyleDavisForMA)

Following a traffic stop incident on January 7, five Memphis police officers and three EMTs were fired for the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. Amidst increasing outrage over the 29-year-old's death, the union representing the Memphis Fire Department is now defending the fired EMTs.

The organization is placing the blame on police officers who had requested medical assistance for Tyre Nichols for withholding essential information from the said EMTs.

In a letter addressed to city councilmembers, Thomas Malone, the president of the Memphis Fire Fighters Association, pointed fingers at the officers and claimed that the responding EMTs were never given enough information to save him.

The EMTs were laid off for allegedly failing to "conduct an adequate patient assessment" of Nichols. The medics, identified as Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge, and Lt. Michelle Whitaker, were fired after a department investigation found them allegedly lacking in their response at the time. In his letter, however, Malone wrote:

"There is no way any member could be truly prepared for a situation that occurred on January 7, 2023...Our members were not given adequate information upon dispatch or upon arrival of the scene. Quite frankly, there was information withheld by those already on the scene which caused our members to handle things differently than they should have."

The professional licenses of Robert Long and JaMichael Sandridge were also suspended by a state medical board.

"They were his best shot": State Medical Board member claims EMTs failed to provide "help" to Tyre Nichols

On January 7, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, a father-of-one and FedEx driver, was brutally beaten by five Memphis police officers at a traffic stop.

According to the police department, the deceased was stopped in the area of Raines Road and Ross Road for reckless driving. A confrontation ensued and Nichols allegedly fled the scene.

Officers attempted to take Nichols into custody, which led to another confrontation that ultimately led to his death. Memphis Fire Chief Gina Sweat stated that the police had initially told them that the suspect had been pepper sprayed. In a statement, she said that the EMTs found not a man who had been pepper sprayed, but a slumped man in handcuffs.

The three medics arrived at the scene at 8.41 pm, and according to officials, they left with Tyre Nichols at 9.08 pm -- nearly 27 minutes after they arrived on the scene. Gina Sweat told city council members:

"They were reacting to what they saw, what they were told at the scene. Obviously, they did not perform at the level that we expect, or that the citizens of Memphis deserve."

The licenses of two of the responding EMTs were suspended by a state medical board after Nichols' death, which took place three days after the traffic stop. Board member Sullivan Smith said:

"They failed to provide that help. They were his best shot, and they failed to help."

All three medical responders have appealed their terminations.

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Edited by Abhipsa Choudhury
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