Memphis Police Department deactivates SCORPION anti-crime unit

(Nikki Boertman/The Commercial Appeal via AP)

The five Memphis police officers charged with second-degree murder and other offenses in the arrest of Tyre Nichols will be arraigned in Shelby County on February 17. The officers were members of an elite anti-crime police unit known as the SCORPIONS – Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods. The Memphis Police Department has deactivated the unit in the aftermath of Nichols’ death.

Advertisement

The officers were suspended and then fired. The videos released of the traffic stop and arrest of Nichols have created outrage from all corners. Others who arrived on the scene may be charged, too.

The announcement was made Saturday by the Memphis Police Department. The unit has been “permanently deactivated.” This action came less than 24 hours after video recordings of the traffic stop were released. They show the officers kicking, punching, pepper spraying, and striking Nichols with a police baton as he screamed for his mother, whose home was nearby. The 29-year-old died in the hospital three days later.

“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 department said in a statement.

According to the statement, “the officers currently assigned to the unit agree unreservedly with this next step. While the heinous actcastof 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.”

Advertisement

This action is something attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Nichols’ family, called for in an open letter earlier this week. He called for an end to the SCORPION units and other “saturation unit policing” around the country.

“These types of aggressive units are used in cities across the country and are intended to flood troubled areas with officers to stem high crime,” he wrote, as ABC 24 in Memphis reports. “But what we’ve seen this month in Memphis and for many years in many places, is that the behavior of these units can morph into ‘wolf pack’ misconduct that takes away a person’s liberty or freedom to move, akin to a kidnapping.”

The anti-crime unit was launched in 2021 at the height of a crime wave in Memphis. The unit consisted of about 50 police officers and had a reputation for being very successful. They took over 500 criminals off the streets in three months. They focus on auto theft, gang-related crimes, and drug-related crimes.

Nichols was allegedly pulled over for reckless driving but that has not been substantiated. Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said that doesn’t mean something didn’t happen but there is no proof. The beginning of the traffic stop was not recorded.

Advertisement

Lawyers for the Nichols family were pleased with the move to deactivate the SCORPION unit. They called it a decent and just call for all citizens of Memphis.

By Friday morning, four of the five officers were out on bail. Two of them have reportedly said they will plead not guilty to the charges.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
David Strom 7:00 AM | May 18, 2024
Advertisement