Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  01.29.2023

The Memphis Police Department has taken another step as it attempts to restore trust in the department following the death of Tyre Nichols. On Saturday (Jan. 28), the law enforcement agency disbanded its Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods (SCORPION) unit.

The 29-year-old father is at the center of ongoing protests and demands for justice and police reform. As previously reported, Nichols was stopped by five Memphis officers when he was brutally beaten. He died days later after suffering multiple injuries, organ failure and internal bleeding.

The police members involved in the assault were all part of the SCORPION unit. They have been identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith. They were subsequently terminated and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. Other officers are being investigated in connection with the disgraceful ordeal.

The department said SCORPION was deactivated after Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis met with its members. Statements made by Nichols’ family, community leaders and other officers who were not involved in the brutal incident were also weighed.

In part, a statement regarding the decision read, “The officers currently assigned to the unit agree unreservedly with this next stop. While the heinous actions of 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.” The department added that it remains committed to serving the Memphis community and is “taking every measure possible to rebuild the trust that has been negatively affected by the death of Mr. Tyre Nichols.”

Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, publicly stated that he wants to see everyone who failed to help his son at the scene of the beating charged. “I feel that everyone there should be charged… everyone. That’s the paramedics, that’s the fire department, [the] paramedics that came out, that stood around and didn’t do anything, they’re just as guilty,” Wells told ABC News.

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