The Memphis police chief on Saturday disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist.
“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 department said in a statement Saturday.
Five former Memphis police officers charged with murder in Nichols’ death were members of the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods unit, a spokeswoman for the Shelby County District Attorney’s office confirmed to NBC News on Saturday.
The anti-violence unit was launched in November 2021 when the city’s murder rate was soaring and residents were clamoring for action.
“I want to assure you we are doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again,” Mayor Jim Strickland said Friday in a weekly newsletter hours before the release of the video showing the police encounter that led to his death.