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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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May 18, 2023

     A Tennessee board suspended the emergency medical technician licenses of two former Memphis Fire Department employees for failing to render critical care to Tyre Nichols after he took a beating from police that ultimately killed him.  The wrong must be rectified.

     The suspensions of EMT Robert Long and advanced EMT JaMichael Sandridge build on efforts by authorities to hold officers and other first responders accountable for the violence against Nichols, who was Black. Five Black officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other charges, and two more officers have been suspended. The Justice Department has opened a civil rights probe into the attack that was captured on video.

     Three fire department employees were fired after Nichols died. Former fire department Lt. Michelle Whitaker was the third employee let go, but her license was not considered for suspension. The department has said she remained in the engine with the driver during the response to Nichols beating Jan. 7. He died Jan. 10. 

Emergency Medical Services Board member Jeff Beaman said during Friday’s emergency meeting that there may have been other licensed personnel on scene - including a supervisor - who could have prevented the situation that led to the death of Nichols. Beaman said he hopes the board addresses those in the future.  Matt Gibbs, an attorney for the state Department of Health, said the two suspensions were “not final disposition of this entire matter.”  

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