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Robert Long, one of the three EMTs fired for failing to medically assess Tyre Nichols after he was viciously beaten by five Memphis police officers, is speaking out about the night of the young motorist’s fatal arrest.

On March 3, Long testified in front of the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services that Memphis police officers were “impeding patient care” after he and his colleague JaMichael Sandridge arrived at the scene, according to CNN. On the night of the fatal incident, Jan. 7,  Long said he arrived to find Nichols handcuffed and propped up against a police car.

“MPD is leaning over the patient in his face, saying loudly that the patient is not going anywhere and that they are not going to uncuff him, impeding patient care,” Long testified.

No one told him not to treat Nichols, the former EMT clarified.

Further along in his testimony, Long claimed that the 29-year-old did not want to be treated. He said Nichols kept rolling away and moving around frantically whenever he and Sandridge attempted to take his vitals. Long admitted that the father of one did not verbally refuse treatment. 

“I did a visual assessment of the patient and there was nothing that indicated to me that he was critical, with the information that I knew,” he said. “I was trying to get information from the patient, even the patient didn’t tell me.”

Long and his crew waited over 20 minutes to render care to Nichols

Long, Sandridge and one other EMT were fired from the Memphis Fire Department in January for failing to render medical aid to Nichols after he was kicked, punched and pepper sprayed by Memphis police officers. Authorities said Long and his team failed “to conduct an adequate patient assessment” and waited over 20 minutes after the vicious attack to call for medical assistance, according to NewsOne.

According to documents from a summary suspension meeting Feb. 3, Long and Sandridge “failed to provide any basic or limited advanced skills in emergency care” despite Nichols showing “clear signs of distress,” CNN also noted.

During his testimony, Long claimed that he did conduct a visual assessment of Nichols. He said he saw a “bump on his head, a busted lip and a dried bloody nose” but because Nichols was moving around, “that told me he had a good pulse and blood pressure were good.”

He also believed that Nichols’ vitals were stable because he was speaking at the time and his airway “wasn’t obstructed.”

On the night of the incident, Memphis police called the fire unit to report an “assault on an officer,” according to Long’s testimony. But when he and his team arrived on the scene, one of the officers involved in Nichols’ arrest told him that he had been pepper sprayed by his partner but that they had a person in custody who may need their help.

The board met Friday to further discuss the fate of Long’s license and suspension. For now, his suspension will remain in effect. The former EMT will receive a full hearing at a later date.


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