Attorney Antonio Romanucci has called for disbanding the Scorpion Unit, an anti-violence unit within the Memphis Police Department involved in the arrest of Nichols.
He called the squad an “oppression unit” that targets the city’s most vulnerable. This unit had “engaged in this type of brutality before,” attorney Ben Crump said.
Memphis’ Scorpion Unit, which stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods, was created in October 2021 under the police department’s Organized Crime Unit.
Made up of 40 officers divided into four 10-member teams, the unit was tasked not only with addressing violent crime but also with investigating car thefts and gangs. The officers’ “crime suppression” assignments changed depending on where crime was worst.
This week, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis announced a review of all the police department’s specialized units, including Scorpion, in response to Nichols’ death.