The special task force to which all 5 officers involved in Tyre Nichols‘ death belonged is being dismantled for good … an about-face after the top dog said she wouldn’t do it.
The Memphis Police Department announced Saturday they were deactivating the SCORPION Unit effective immediately … this in the wake of public outcry following the release of body cam footage that showed 5 cops detaining and brutally beating Nichols on Jan. 7.
The department says Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis met with the remaining officers that were part of SCORPION (Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) and mutually came to the decision it’d be best to disband the unit in light of everything.
MPD says they’ve made this decision after listening to the family of Tyre, community leaders and the public at large — noting that the officers who are part of SCORPION, and who do fine work normally, “agree unreservedly with this next step.”
They add, “While the heinous actions of a few casts a cloud of dishonor on the title SCORPION, it is imperative that we, the Memphis Police Department, take proactive steps in the healing process for all impacted.” MPD also says they want to restore trust ASAP.
Interestingly, Chief Davis on Friday said she wouldn’t be shutting down SCORPION … telling AP, “The whole idea that the Scorpion unit is a bad unit, I just have a problem with that.”
There’s been a lot of digging into what this unit was/why officers who were in it had any reason to come into contact with Tyre on the night in question. SCORPION was formed in October 2021 and launched the following month … so it’s been around for just over a year.
According to a MPD description of SCORPION at the time … the whole idea of it was to get about 40 officers split into 4 teams to patrol “high crime hotspots” all throughout Memphis.
Tyre’s traffic stop-turned-chase occurred at the intersection of East Raines Road and Ross Road — near the Autumn Ridge neighborhood … which appears to be one of the areas SCORPION was assigned to cover. The fact five of its cops were there is no coincidence.
The Chief has since said no evidence has surfaced for why Tyre was pulled over in the first place. Reckless driving was cited, but proof of probable cause for that is nonexistent.
Tyre died from his injuries, and the 5 officers have subsequently been charged with murder. Nationwide protests have erupted … and the Nichols family has demanded accountability.
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