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One Of The Memphis Cops Charged In Tyre Nichols' Death Allegedly Threatened To Kill Man During 2020 Arrest
"I'll blow your face off," former Memphis Police Officer Emmitt Martin III, currently one of five former officers charged in the killing of Tyre Harris, reportedly told Glenn Harris in August 2020.
Glenn Harris, 24, and Demarius Hervey, 27, allege that former Memphis Police Officer Emmitt Martin III pulled a gun on them and threatened to kill them following a brief police pursuit in 2020, NBC News reported.
Hill was one of five Memphis police officers who were fired and charged with murder in Nichols’ death following the department’s initial probe into the matter. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were also terminated and charged. All the officers, as well as Nichols, are Black.
The now-former cops face charges of second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault.
Nichols’ killing — and the subsequent release of the disturbing body camera footage in the case — has since sparked outrage and nationwide protests.
Harris and Hervey, who told NBC News that they are siblings, recounted a violent interaction they allegedly had with Martin nearly three years ago, after recognizing the accused officer in media reports in the aftermath of Nichols’ death.
The two men claimed they encountered Martin after police cars abruptly surrounded them at a Memphis gas station in August 2020. Harris and Hervey, who had been smoking marijuana and had a registered firearm in their possession, said they were spooked by the sudden presence of law enforcement. Instead of risking arrest, the pair opted to flee in Harris’ car, they said.
They avoided capture for approximately two miles before Harris crashed his vehicle. It was at this moment the two first crossed paths with Martin.
“I got scared,” Harris recalled. “When I got out the car and tried to run, that’s when Officer Emmitt grabbed me. He slammed me on the ground and pulled his gun out.”
Harris stated that Martin pinned him to the concrete, placed his knee on Harris’ neck and aimed a gun at his head.
“I’ll blow your face off,” Martin reportedly told him, Harris claimed, according to NBC News.
Hervey, who corroborated the incident, also insisted that Martin threatened to shoot him in the face as well.
The encounter was further corroborated by Harris’ mother.
“He told me [Martin] threw him to the ground and put the gun to him and told him he would ‘blow his f*cking head off,’” Stacy Harris said, NBC News reported.
Lawyer Arthur Horne, who represented Harris in the criminal case, said his client had long-maintained he’d been a victim of police brutality in the case.
“He said an officer pulled a gun out and held it to his head and called him the N-word,” Horne said. “I told him he could go to internal affairs, but they probably wouldn’t do anything.”
A police report about the incident, cited by NBC News and dating back to Aug. 2, 2020, was signed by an E. Martin. The affidavit confirms that Harris and Hervey were taken into custody after Harris crashed a black Nissan Maxima and led officers on a foot chase.
Harris was charged with possession of a handgun while under the influence, reckless driving, driving with a suspended/revoked/canceled license, leaving the scene of an accident and evading arrest. Investigators also confiscated a scale and a pistol containing 15 rounds “in the magazine,” per the police report cited by NBC News.
“Harris had over $2960 dollars on his person,” the complaint also alleged.
Hervey didn’t face charges in the incident, however, authorities seized a small amount of marijuana and “over $194 in different denominations.”
Nonetheless, the pair are adamant Martin acted unlawfully.
“[Martin] was in the wrong, he wasn’t supposed to pull a gun on me,” Harris added, per NBC News.
Harris claimed he never filed a police report because his ultimate priority at the time was getting out of jail, per NBC News. His lawyer said they were considering filing one now in the wake of Nichols’ death.
Martin is a former college football player, NBC News reported. He was hired by the Memphis Police Department in March 2018.
William Massey, Martin’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to Oxygen.com’s request for comment on the matter on Wednesday afternoon. Memphis’ police union also didn’t reply to questions surrounding the alleged 2020 incident this week.
On Jan. 7, police initially claimed Tyre Nichols was stopped for driving “recklessly.” The Memphis father was then fatally beaten by the officers roughly 80 yards from his home as he screamed for his “Mom,” according to body camera footage. He died three days after being hospitalized. An independent autopsy shows Nichols died from a “severe beating,” however official post-mortem examination results haven’t yet been released by officials.
A pair of paramedics and a fire truck driver who were present at the scene of Tyre Nichols’ arrest were also fired for violating departmental policies during the deadly encounter. An additional two Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies were also suspended pending an administrative probe into Nichols’ death.
Nichols was a father, a skateboarder and an amateur photographer. A funeral service was held for him on Wednesday afternoon in Memphis. The service was attended by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, relatives of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, as well as a number of prominent civil rights activists.
“We want to put this county on notice that we intend to be at the trials, the arraignments,” Rev. Al Sharpton said, CNN reported. “We are mountain climbers and we are going to fight this battle with this family.”
Martin, Bean, Haley, Mills and Smith are expected to be arraigned in mid-February, Fox News reported.