Black Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, revokes membership of Memphis Officers involved In Nichols’ Death
Historical Black organization, Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc., has kicked out former Memphis police officers involved in the death of Tyre Nichols.
The organization said in a January 31 statement:
“Effective immediately, the Fraternity has revoked the membership of the three former Memphis police officers and all related privileges they may have enjoyed as members of our Fraternity.”
Although they did not specifically name which of the three ex-cops were members, the national fraternity revoked memberships for Tadarrius Bean (Nu Mu Mu chapter), Emmitt Martin III (Sigma Lambda Lambda chapter), and Desmond Mills, Jr. (Also Sigma Lambda Lambda chapter). Bean, 24, was also the Omega Psi Phi Eta Zeta chapter President at the University of Mississippi.
The statement from the organization was the second statement issued on Nichols death. This one came the day before Nichols’ celebration of life after it was learned that the former officers were fraternity members.
Grand Basileus Ricky L. Lewis said:
“We strongly condemn the conduct of the former Memphis police officers involved in the incident, including the three former members of our organization. The brutality shown in the video not only violated our moral sensibilities but also transgressed our fraternal and established code of conduct. We have the utmost confidence in the judicial process and fervently pray that the Nichols family will obtain justice.”
After stopping him for an ‘alleged’ traffic stop on January 7, five Black Memphis Officers viciously beat Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man. Nichols was hospitalized following the brutal attack and died three days later due to the injuries he sustained from the beating.
The Memphis Police Department immediately terminated the five officers due to violating the department’s policies and disbanded the force’s so-called SCORPION unit, which the five were a part of. The five were quickly charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression.
Two more officers – one White, Preston Hemphill, and one still not publicly identified, were initially placed on leave. Hemphill has since been fired. Authorities are considering charges against him. Nichols family attorney Ben Crump has questioned why authorities took so long to release Hemphill’s name after quickly releasing names of the Black officers involved.
Also caught in the fallout were three Sheriff Department employees – two EMTs, and a supervisor who arrived on the scene and failed to render aid to Nichols. While all three were initially suspended, they were subsequently terminated. In addition, two Shelby County Sheriff deputies have been placed on leave.
After the public was able to view body-cam footage from the brutal encounter, peaceful protests erupted around the country, along with calls for more police oversight following Nichols death. At least one of the officers in the beating was seen wearing what appeared to be a wristband commemorating Omega Psi Phi.
The statement from the organization also reminded the public that its active members are committed to its ethos and highlight the fraternity in the Memphis community and beyond.
Social media was lit up after the initial statement by Omega Psi Phi. Many were concerned that their first statement didn’t include any action by the fraternity against the officers. With the revocation of the former officers, social media users now say such action should be the standard and immediate response that occurs every time.
One person tweeted, “THIS is the kind of disownership/disavowal I want to see EVERY TIME. I’m trying to remember that the response IS closer to the standard we need. Even if we are stuck in a spot where we Black folks are policing ourselves…AGAIN.”
Meanwhile, Shelby County District Attorney Steven Mulroy has pledged to prosecute anyone involved directly or indirectly with Nichols beating and death. Mulroy said, “We are looking at everybody who had any kind of involvement in this incident.” After the release of the body camera and surveillance footage, Mulroy said, “We’re looking at everybody.”In addition, authorities are also focusing on the police reports that were filed on the incident which does not match the footage of the beating. The district attorney’s office spokesperson Erica Williams said, “Potential” charges “of false reporting” on the initial police report remain under scrutiny, as does every other person at the scene.”