3 Memphis Fire employees fired in Tire Nichols investigation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two paramedics and a Memphis Fire Department lieutenant were fired for violating policy and protocol in their response to Tire Nichols on Jan. 7.

EMT-Basic Robert Long, EMT-Advanced JaMichael Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker failed to properly assess the patient when they arrived at the scene, firefighters said.

Engine 55 First Responder was dispatched to a pepper spray call at 8:32 p.m. in Ross Road and Raines. They arrived at 8.36am and were directed by police to Ross and Castlegate, MFD said in a press release on Monday.

They did the second scene and found Nichols handcuffed to the ground and leaning against a police vehicle at 8:41 a.m. The lieutenant remained inside the truck, while the two paramedics responded based on information they had received about a pepper spray incident.

They called for an ambulance at 8:46 a.m., and that ambulance arrived nine minutes later. Nichols was taken to St. Francis Hospital at 9:08 a.m., MFD said.

Nichols died in hospital three days later. Video released last week shows he was badly beaten and knocked unconscious and pepper sprayed by officers before pressing him against a vehicle.

Five officers were fired and charged with second degree murder. A sixth and seventh officer have also been relieved of their duties and are under investigation, the MPD said on Monday.

MFD records show Sandridge is a Fire Private II and joined the MFD in September 2019. Long was also a Fire Private II and joined the band in March 2020. Whitaker joined the band in January 1997.


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