Tyre Nichols live updates: SCORPION Unit 'permanently deactivated' after Nichols' death – ABC News

The five former officers charged in the incident were in the unit.
Video of fatal Tyre Nichols beating released
Officials in Memphis, Tennessee, released dramatic body camera footage Friday of the fatal confrontation between Tyre Nichols and five police officers.
Nichols can be heard screaming “mom” several times during the gut-wrenching clips, which appear to show officers beating and pepper-spraying him after he ran from a traffic stop arrest.
Nichols died at the age of 29 on Jan. 10, three days after the violent confrontation.
The five Memphis Police Department officers involved in his arrest — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were fired and then charged with second-degree murder in connection with Nichols’ death.
During a press event with other state and local leaders on Saturday, Tennessee state Rep. G.A. Hardaway said he has questions that have not been answered regarding the timeline and logistics of the Nichols case.
“There is more to the story, and I think that the citizens of Memphis and Shelby County deserve to know the whole story,” Hardaway, who represents Memphis, said.
Hardaway said the “only quick turnaround” from police in the case was the information that five officers received administrative discipline. He called for more clarity regarding the chain of command as it pertains to the notification of car chases and violent encounters.
“You can’t get the trust of Memphians and Shelby Countians unless you’re truthful, and you can’t be truthful if you’re not transparent,” he said.
–with ABC News’ Jianna Cousin
The Memphis Police Department has deactivated its SCORPION Unit, the task force at the center of Nichols’ death, the department said Saturday.
The decision came after Chief Cerelyn Davis met with other members of the unit, who agreed with the deactivation, according to a statement from the department.
“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 assignments, it is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the SCORPION Unit,” the statement said.
All five officers fired and charged in connection with Nichols’ death were in the unit, which had been inactive since the fatal encounter.
The 40-officer SCORPION unit, which stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, launched in November 2021 and focused on “high crime hotspots,” the department said at the time.
Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, the attorneys representing the family, had repeatedly called to end the unit.
“You have a man literally laying down in distress, dying, and people are just talking like this is business as usual. Had Tyre not succumbed to his injuries, how many more times would they have done this and how many times have they done it before?” he told ABC News on Friday.
Crump and Romanucci said in a joint statement Saturday that they and Nichols’ family found the disbandment of the unit “to be both appropriate and proportional to the tragic death of Tyre Nichols, and also a decent and just decision for all citizens of Memphis.”
Former President Barack Obama called on people to “reimagine public safety” in response to Nichols’ fatal encounter with police.
“The vicious, unjustified beating of Tyre Nichols and his ultimate death at the hands of five Memphis police officers is just the latest, painful reminder of how far America still has to go in fixing how we police our streets,” he said in a joint statement with Michelle Obama on Twitter that included a selfie of Nichols by water. “Along with mourning Tyre and supporting his family, it’s up to all of us to mobilize for lasting change.”
The attorney representing former Memphis Police Officer Desmond Mills, one of the five charged in Tyre Nichols’ death, released a statement saying the videos “produced as many questions as they have answers,” Blake Ballin, an attorney for Mills said.
“Some of the questions that remain will require a focus on Desmond Mills’s individual actions; on what Desmond knew and what he was able to see when he arrived late to the scene; on what Desmond knew and what he was able to see after he was pepper sprayed; and on whether Desmond’s actions crossed the lines that were crossed by other officers during this incident,” Ballin said.
“We continue to urge caution and patience in judging Desmond Mills’s actions. We are confident that the questions of whether Desmond crossed the lines that others crossed and whether he committed the crimes charged will be answered with a resounding no,” Ballin added.


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