Memphis police on Saturday disbanded the ‘Scorpion unit’ after the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols.
Scorpion stands for “Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in our Neighborhoods.”
The Memphis police chief on Saturday disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit after some of its officers beat to death Tyre Nichols, reversing an earlier statement that she would keep the unit intact.
Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said she listened to Nichols’ relatives, community leaders and uninvolved officers in making the decision.
Referring to “the heinous actions of a few” that cast “a cloud of dishonor” on the unit, Davis said it was imperative that the department “take proactive steps in the healing process.”
“It is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the Scorpion unit,” she said in a statement. She said the officers currently assigned to the unit agreed “unreservedly” with the step.
The unit is composed of three teams of about 30 officers who target violent offenders in areas beset by high crime. It had been inactive since Nichols’ Jan. 7 arrest.
Authorities on Friday evening released bodycam footage of five Memphis police officers beating motorist Tyre Nichols during a traffic stop.
Five ex-Memphis police officers were charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping on Thursday in the death of a black motorist.
The officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith – were fired on Friday after the motorist, Tyre Nichols, died following a violent confrontation during a January 7 traffic stop.
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