State Watch

Tennessee board suspends licenses of two EMTs who responded to Tyre Nichols arrest

A group of demonstrators protest outside a police precinct in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Two emergency medical technicians have had their licenses suspended after a Tennessee regulatory board found that they failed to give medical attention to Tyre Nichols for nearly 20 minutes as he laid on the ground after being beaten by five officers. 

The state’s Emergency Medical Services Board unanimously voted on Friday to suspend the licenses of JaMichael Sandridge and Robert Long for not trying to treat Nichols for 19 minutes while they were on the scene. 

Matthew Gibbs, a member of the general counsel’s office for the state public health department, said at the meeting that Nichols was “clearly in distress,” was unable to remain in a seated position and laid facedown multiple times. 

“Neither Mr. Sandridge or Mr. Long engaged in a primary or secondary examination. Vital signs were not taken. A full head-to-toe examination did not occur,” he said. 

Gibbs said neither gave Nichols oxygen, and Sandridge, who he said is the more experienced EMT, did not administer intravenous fluids or monitor Nichols’s heart activity.

Nichols was taken to a hospital after the incident on Jan. 7 and died three days later.

Sandridge and Long were fired from the Memphis Fire Department earlier this week after they responded to the scene of Nichols’s fatal arrest last month. The department determined that they and a lieutenant, Michelle Whitaker, did not conduct an “adequate” assessment of Nichols. 

Gibbs said the suspensions of Sandridge’s and Long’s licenses are temporary, and the board will consider a “full scope of disciplinary parameters” based on the evidence at a later date. 

The Memphis Police Department has fired five officers who they say and body camera footage shows were directly involved in the beating of Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, and one officer who was also present at the scene and who the video shows pulling Nichols from his vehicle. 

The five officers directly involved in the beating are Black, and the other officer is white. 

The five officers are each facing multiple charges, including second-degree murder. The police department has said its investigation is ongoing and additional members may face disciplinary action.

Tags Emergency Medical Services Board emergency medical technician EMT failure to render aid medical attention Tyre Nichols Tyre Nichols video

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