The Memphis Police Department said it has permanently deactivated. Its Scorpion unit following the death of Tyre Nichols.
“In the process of listening carefully to Tyree Nichols’ family, community leaders. And the officers involved who did quality work in their line of duty. It is in everyone’s best interest to permanently deactivate the SCORPION unit.” The department said in a statement Saturday.
According to the statement, “Officers currently assigned. To the unit unreservedly agree with this next step. While the heinous actions of a few cast a cloud of disrepute over the SCORPION title. It is imperative that we, the Memphis Police Department. Take proactive steps in the healing process for all those affected.” The news comes a day after authorities released the video footage. Five former Memphis officers punched and kicked Nichols during a Jan. 7 traffic stop. Three days later, on January 10, the 29-year-old died.
Five of the officers were members of Scorpions. Which stands for Street Crime Operations to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods. The vaunted anti-violence unit was launched in November 2021. When the city’s homicide rate was rising and the community was calling for action.
Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci, attorneys for Nichols’ family. Said in a statement that eliminating the unit was a step toward achieving justice.
“The Nichols family and their legal team consider the decision to permanently disband. This unit to be appropriate and proportionate to the tragic death of Tyre Nichols and a decent. And just decision for all the citizens of Memphis,” they said in a joint statement. saturday
“We hope that other cities will take similar steps. With their saturation police units,” the pair said. The Memphis unit consisted of four teams of officers whose primary focus. According to the department, was to reduce violent crime. “And heat saturation in spot areas across the city.” Mayor Jim Strickland promoted the unit as part of the solution in his January 2022 State of the City speech. Citing it as part of an anti-crime strategy that included. A gun violence intervention program and more money for the police department.
In the unit’s first three months, it made more than 566 arrests and seized $103,000 in cash and 253 weapons, the mayor said.
Five officers — Tadarius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III. Justin Smith and Desmond Mills Jr. — were fired by the police department and charged. With second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct. Two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of . Government oppression and one count aggravated assault.