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Breaking down how the Memphis Police officers involved in Tyre Nichols' death broke department policy

A retired Shelby County lieutenant believes the swift firing of 5 MPD officers involved in the Tyre Nichols traffic stop is setting the tone for Chief C.J. Davis

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Five Memphis Police officers have been fired after the deadly confrontation with Tyre Nichols with violations including excessive force, failure to intervene and render aid.

So what does this look like for a courtroom case – from an expert witness standpoint?

A retired Horn Lake Police Dept. lieutenant believes the swift firing of five MPD officers involved in the Tyre Nichols traffic stop is setting the tone for Chief C.J. Davis and what won’t be tolerated under her police department.

“Memphis is starving for police officers right now,” said current investigator Marshal Sanders. “The pick that they’re getting is not good.”

Not good and a far cry from Sanders’ days in law enforcement.

“You had morals and you had, it was more of a serving and protecting,” said Sanders.

Protection and safety are at the forefront of Memphis’ mind.

Especially after an encounter in the form of a routine traffic stop with the five Memphis police officers. It ended up with Tyre Nichols losing his life.

“If someone you’re trying to arrest says 'I can’t breathe,' and they go into cardiac arrest, your job is to now change from arresting this person to trying to save this person’s life,” explained Sanders.

Memphis Police confirmed the officers violated multiple department policies – including use of force, duty to intervene and failure to render aid.

Sanders, who went through the law enforcement academy back in 1989, said: 

“The (duty to) intervene was not popular when they say failure to intervene or failure to render aid that was not popular in law enforcement before the George Floyd incident. So it’s new.”

We asked Sanders if he believes the officers will be charged.  

“I think most of them will but I can’t say without a shadow of a doubt,” Sanders commented. “When it hits the courtroom it’s who can tell the best story - the prosecutor or the defense attorney - to make the jury believe.”

He believes this could end up as a civil case.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean he has to be white or the cop has to be Black in order to violate someone’s rights so it probably will end up that was and may end up being a federal trial.”

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