Memphis Police Department Suspends Scorpion Unit Following Tyre Nichols’ Death

The image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the City of Memphis, shows police officers talking after a brutal attack on Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers on Jan. 7, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols died on Jan. 10. The five officers have since been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other offenses. (City of Memphis via AP)

The Memphis Police Department has permanently suspended Scorpion, the task force behind the death of Tyre Nichols.

via Complex:

Authorities announced the move in a public statement on Saturday, less than 24 hours after the Memphis PD released bodycam footage of Nichols’ deadly police beating. Scorpion, which stands for “Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods,” was launched in late November 2021, when the residents called on officials to take action against the city’s surging murder rate. 

“The unit is comprised of four teams of officers whose primary focus will be violent crime reduction and the saturation of hot spot areas throughout the city,” the Memphis PD wrote when announcing the unit.

Scorpion was heavily criticized among police reform advocates, who said the so-called “anti-violence unit” would lead to overly aggressive police tactics and further erode public trust in law enforcement.

Objections to the unit intensified this week, when Steve Mulroy—the District Attorney for Shelby County, Tennessee—confirmed “the Scorpion unit was involved” in Nichols death. However, he did not clarify which of the officers were a part of the unit.

“In the process of listening intently to the family of Tyre Nichols, community leaders, and the uninvolved officers who have done quality work in their assignments, it is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the SCORPION Unit,” the department said in a statement. “The officers currently assigned to the unit agree unreservedly with this next step. While the heinous actions of a few casts a cloud of dishonor on the title of Scorpion, it is imperative that we, the Memphis Police Department take proactive steps in the healing process for all impacted.”

Deactivating Scorpion should be just the tip of the iceberg. You can read the full statement from Memphis PD below.

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