Memphis police disband unit that beat Tire Nichols
“It is in everyone’s interest to permanently disable the Scorpion unit,” she said in a statement. She said officers currently assigned to the unit agreed “wholeheartedly” with the move.
The unit is made up of three teams of approximately 30 officers who target violent offenders in high crime areas. He had been inactive since Nichols’ arrest on January 7.
Scorpion stands for Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in our Neighborhoods.
Protesters marching through downtown Memphis cheered when they learned the unit had been disbanded. A protester told the megaphone that “the unit that killed Tyr has been permanently disbanded”.
In a Friday interview with The Associated Press, Davis said she wouldn’t shut down a unit if a few officers do “a blatant act” and because she needs that unit to keep working.
“The idea that the Scorpion unit is a bad unit, I just have a problem with that,” Davis said.
The disbandment was announced as the nation and city struggled to come to terms with video showing police beating the black motorist.
Footage released Friday left many questions unanswered about the traffic stop involving Nichols and other law enforcement officers standing by as he lay motionless on the sidewalk. This video also renewed doubts about why fatal encounters with law enforcement continue to occur after repeated calls for change.
The five disgraced former Memphis Police Department officers, who are also black, were fired and charged with murder and other crimes in Nichols’ death three days after the arrest.
The recording shows police savagely beating Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx employee, for three minutes while shouting swear words at him in an assault that the Nichols family’s legal team likened to the infamous beating of 1991 police against Los Angeles motorist Rodney King. Nichols calls out for his mother before his limp body is pressed against a police car and the officers trade punches.
The five officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith – face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of second degree murder.
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