The Memphis Police Department, Tennessee, has decided to deactivate its Scorpion unit for good following the death of Tyre Nichols.
In a statement, the Police Department said, “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 assignment, it is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the SCORPION Unit.”
The officers associated with the unit altogether agree with this next big step. The despicable actions of a few police officials have led to dishonor on the title SCORPION.
The Department further added, “we, the Memphis Police Department must take proactive steps in the healing process for all impacted.”
This heinous act came to light one day after the authorities released video footage that was featuring five former Memphis Police officers beating and arresting Tyre Nichols during a 7 January traffic stop. The ambulance did not come to the scene on time and arrived 20 minutes later.
The 29-year-old Tyre succumbed to his injuries three days later on 10 January. This information was released by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. This raged the victim’s family and friends who demanded the authorities release the body camera footage of Nichols getting arrested.
Nichols’ family and their attorneys saw and reviewed the police video and described it as a “savage” three-minute interaction between the officers and Nichols.
After the video of police officers beating up Nichols and reviews of his family members went public, protestors rebelled across the US streets in large peaceful group demonstrations against the soaring police violence and support of Tyre Nichols.
All five involved officers were members of the Scorpion Unit of the Department, which symbolises Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighbourhoods. It was launched as an anti-violence unit in November 2021 when the murder rate in the city was reaching its limits, and the community was demanding action.
Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci, Nichols’ family attorneys, were asking for justice. After the unit was completely disbanded they said in a statement that eliminating the unit was but one step in realizing justice. They also added, “We hope that other cities take similar action with their saturation police units,” the duo said.
The Memphis unit was comprised of four teams of officers whose main focus, according to the Police Department, was to reduce violent crimes and the saturation of hot spot areas throughout the city. Mayor Jim Strickland advanced the unit as part of the solution in his January 2022 State of the City speech, promoting it as part of an anti-crime strategy that also includes a gun violence intervention program and more monetary funds for the police department.
The mayor further said that in the unit’s first three months of tenure, it had accomplished over 566 arrests and seized over 253 weapons and $103,000 in cash.
The five officers are being held for questioning for second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, official oppression, and official misconduct. While each of the five individuals performed different tasks in the incident, the terrible actions of all of them resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols, so according to the Police department they all are responsible.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, and Desmond Mills Jr. are the five involved officers. They were all later fired by the police department.
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