MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE – Two Memphis Fire Department EMS technicians who were fired got theirs licenses are suspended for not providing assistance Tyr Nichols for 19 minutes while he battled injuries from a brutal police beating, did not check his vital signs or perform other basic medical examinations, documents released Thursday showed.
Advanced EMT JaMichael Sandridge and EMT Robert Long headed to the scene where five Memphis police officers punched, kicked and batoned Nichols during an arrest after Nichols fled a traffic stop on the night of January 7th.
Video footage released by Memphis City Hall showed the beating and aftermath, which included officers and other first responders chattering and fidgeting as Nichols was unguarded — handcuffed to the ground and slumped over a police car.
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Nichols, 29, died three days later in hospital. His death led to the firing of five officers who were later charged with second-degree murder. They did not admit their guilt. Nichols’ case has fueled calls for police reform in Memphis and across the country.
The documents, provided to The Associated Press on Thursday, were related to a Feb. 3 decision by the Tennessee Department of Emergency Medical Services to suspend the licenses of Sandridg e and Long. Officials said they violated state rules for emergency care and treatment.
In board records, officials said the two specialists failed to provide any basic first aid to Nichols for 19 minutes, even though he was showing “obvious signs of distress, such as an inability to remain in a sitting position and repeatedly lying face down on the ground. .”
Long and Sandridge failed to initiate an initial examination that could have helped determine the presence of life-threatening injuries, the documents showed. Documents showed Nichols’ vital signs were not checked, he was not receiving high-flow oxygen or an IV, and he was not placed on a heart monitor.
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They also did not perform a secondary autopsy, which is used to determine non-life-threatening injuries, the documents showed.
“Defendant failed to bring his partner to the scene to take appropriate measures to protect patient TN from incompetent health care practices by other EMS personnel,” officials said in the filing.
Sandridge did not immediately return a message left on the phone with a person who answered the number listed. There was no immediate response to a voice message seeking comment at a number listed for Long.
During a hearing on the license suspension last month, board member Sullivan Smith said it was “obvious even to a layman” that Nichols “was in terrible trouble and needed help.”
“And they failed to provide that assistance,” Smith said. “They were his best shot and they couldn’t help it.”
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Sandridge and Long were fired on January 30. At the time, officials said it was 27 minutes from the time EMS arrived at the scene to the time EMS left the arrest scene to take Nichols to the hospital. .
At the scene of the arrest, two EMS crews were joined by a third firefighter, Lt. Michelle Whitaker, who officials said remained in the fire truck with the driver while Nichols was hit. She was fired, but it was not immediately clear Thursday whether the state board would take any action to suspend her license.