The Memphis Police Department made the announcement that the unit that five of the participating officers belonged to will be permanently deactivated a day after the public release of the video of Tyre Nichols’ horrifying police beating. The SCORPION team, established in 2021 with the goal of combating the city’s escalating crime rate, has come under fire since the 29-year-old man was killed. After a traffic stop on January 7, Nichols was severely assaulted. He needed to be hospitalized, and on January 10 he passed away.
According to Memphis police spokesperson Maj. Karen Rudolph, all five of the officers dismissed and accused in connection with Nichols’ death were a part of the squad. Memphis police claimed it was “in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate” the unit in a statement published on Twitter on Saturday.
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The police stated that “the policemen now assigned to the unit agree wholeheartedly with this next move.” “While the horrific deeds of a few shed a stain of disgrace on the title SCORPION, it is vital that we, the Memphis Police Department, take proactive steps in the healing process for all impacted,” said the Memphis Police Department.
Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, attorneys representing the Nichols family, applauded the department’s choice to dissolve the unit and urged other cities to “take similar action with their saturation police units in the near future to begin to create greater trust in their communities.”
As it is obvious that this wrongdoing is not limited to these speciality units, we must remember that this is only the next step in the quest for justice and accountability. It goes so much farther, the lawyers declared in a statement.
Disbanding the unit, according to some municipal officials, is only one step towards resolving problems inside the police department.
Patrice Robinson, a member of the Memphis City Council, told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Saturday night that “the community has a lot more questions and a lot more demands.”
“We have received communications from numerous members of our community, all of whom are concerned and communicate exactly what they see and want from our police department. We must look into the situation and determine what is happening.
The Memphis Police Department claimed the video of the incident demonstrates a “disregard for life, duty of care that we’re all sworn to,” according to Davis. However, the Memphis Police Department has been unable to discover any evidence to support the probable cause for reckless driving.
According to the Shelby County district attorney, five former Memphis police officers who were also Black and involved in the arrest have been charged with second-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, and Desmond Mills Jr. were named as the individuals.
In the interim, two Memphis Fire Department employees who assisted with Nichols’ first care were dismissed of their duties.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has also suspended two cops pending an inquiry after the sheriff saw the footage.
Ben Crump, the family attorney for Nichols, claimed on CNN on Saturday that the family was unaware that two sheriff’s deputies were there at the time of the beating.
The Memphis Police Association, which represents local law enforcement, conveyed its condolences to the Nichols family and stated that it does not support the misuse of authority or the mistreatment of the public.
The organization declared that it “believes in the criminal justice system.”
According to a statement, “That faith is what we will rely on in the days, weeks, and months to come to ensure the totality of circumstances is exposed.” Nothing less is acceptable for the family of Mr. Nichols, the City of Memphis, or the rest of the nation.
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