Memphis Police Department via AP
- Former Memphis officer Demetrius Haley came under fire two years before beating Tyre Nichols.
- In Feb. 2021, Haley was on the scene when another officer ripped a woman from her car.
- Despite seeing the officer dislocating the woman’s shoulder, he didn’t write a use of force report.
Years before beating Tyre Nichols, then-Memphis police officer Demetrius Haley was on the scene of another brutal incident where a woman was ripped from her car by a fellow officer who didn’t approve of her laughing, according to police disciplinary records obtained by Insider.
On February 21, 2021, Haley assisted three other Memphis officers in a shooting investigation. One of the four officers approached Kadejah Townes, who was running into a Walgreens to get a Redbox movie to watch with her aunt.
The officer asked Jones if she had seen or heard shooting and the woman said she hadn’t, Townes reported to the department.
After Townes returned to the car where her aunt had been waiting, another officer, Alexis Brown, approached again, this time demanding that she get out of the car and give her ID.
“Ya’ll over here laughing, I need to see ID,” Brown said, according to the complaint. “As a matter of fact, get out of the car.”
Townes said she refused to get out of the car because she hadn’t done anything, but that Brown reached through the window, unlocked the door, and pulled her out.
Haley then assisted in putting Townes in handcuffs and placing her in a cruiser. He later told department investigators he didn’t know what she was being arrested for.
Haley said he had mentioned the women were laughing before Brown approached the car, but he “didn’t think anything of the occupants laughing because it’s not illegal to laugh.”
The officers then transported Townes and her aunt to jail, but several of their family members followed the cruiser, according to the report.
At one point, Brown pulled the cruiser over and drew her gun at Townes’ brother, who had been following them, and issued him a citation for interfering with police, according to the report.
Townes was booked on disorderly conduct and her aunt was released and driven home.
After Townes made a complaint of excessive use of force to the Memphis Police Department, a hearing was held on the misconduct.
The allegations against Brown were sustained and she ultimately resigned.
Haley, though, only received a written reprimand for failing to write up a use of force report.
Haley — who joined the department in August 2020 and was a member of the now-disbanded SCORPION unit — is one of the five officers charged with the murder of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.
Haley — along with Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, and Desmond Mills Jr — pulled Nichols over less than 100 yards from his mother’s home on Jan. 7 and beat him so severely he died in the hospital three days later.
Nichols’ death prompted national protests against police brutality and led to the disbandment of the SCORPION unit.
Within 20 days, the five officers were charged with murder. Two other officers have been on paid administrative leave.
In addition to the use of force incident, Haley’s disciplinary records include a traffic violation in which he struck a stop sign with his cruiser.
After that incident, his superior jumped to his defense.
At a hearing on the incident, Haley’s supervisor, identified only as Lt. Flagg, said that he was one of “her best officers” and that he was hard working.
“She stated the department needs several more officers like Haley,” the January 2021 hearing report says.
Insider’s attempt to reach Townes was unsuccessful Thursday.