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Media Contact: Qwanesha Ward

Public Information Officer

P: 901-636-5478 Email:

January 30th, 2023

On January 7th, 2023, at 8:31 p.m., Memphis Fire Dispatch (MFD) received a call from the Memphis Police Department to respond to a person pepper sprayed at the intersection of E. Raines Road and Ross Road. Per MFD protocol, First Responder company Engine 55, was dispatched at 8:32 p.m. and arrived on scene at E. Raines at 8:36 p.m. After an initial conversation with a police officer at that location, Engine 55 was directed to the second location, Ross Rd. and Castlegate.

EMT-Basic Robert Long and EMT-Advanced JaMicheal Sandridge made the scene where Tyre Nichols was located handcuffed on the ground leaning against a police vehicle at approximately 8:41 p.m. The Driver of Engine 55 and Lieutenant Michelle Whitaker remained in the fire apparatus.

Our investigation has concluded that the two EMT’s responded based on the initial nature of the call (person pepper sprayed) and information they were told on the scene and failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols. After their initial interaction with Mr. Nichols, they requested an ambulance to respond. Emergency Unit 28 was dispatched at 8:46 p.m., arrived on the scene at 8:55 p.m., initiated patient care and transported Mr. Nichols to St. Francis Hospital at 9:08 p.m.

After concluding our internal investigation, it was determined that EMT-B Long, EMT-A Sandridge and Lt. Whitaker violated numerous MFD Policies and Protocols. As a result, EMT-B Long, EMT-A Sandridge and Lt. Whitaker have been terminated from the Memphis Fire Department.

Their actions or inactions on the scene that night do not meet the expectations of the Memphis Fire Department and are not reflective of the outstanding service the men and women of the Memphis Fire Department provide daily in our community.

JaMicheal Sandridge
Robert Long
Lt. Michelle Whitaker