Memphis Police announced Saturday it was deactivating its SCORPION Unit, which was involved in the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols earlier this month.
Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx driver and photographer, died three days after the January 7 incident, as CrimeOnline reported.
The SCORPION Unit — which stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods — was formed in November 2021 to focus on “violent crime reduction and the saturation of hot spot areas throughout the city,” a statement from the department said at the time.
A statement today said that remaining officers assigned to the SCORPION Unit met with Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis on Saturday and agreed “unreservedly” to disband the unit permanently.
“While the heinous actions of a few cast 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 involved,” the statement said.
Police released four videos Friday night of the incident that led to Nichols’ death. In them, officers scream obscenities at him, kick and punch him, hit him with a baton, and pepper spray him in the face before propping him up on one of their unmarked cars and spending 20 minutes congratulating themselves.
Five officers — all of whom were part of the SCORPION Unit — were fired and charged with murder. Davis said that several other officers are under investigation, and officials said that two paramedics from the fire department were relieved from duty. Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner also said he’d put two of his deputies on administrative leave after he saw them on the videos released by the police department. The two deputies arrived after the beating, Bonner said, and an investigation is looking into their actions.
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[Featured image: City of Memphis]