The Memphis Police Department has shut down the SCORPION unit after body cam footage showed Nichols being beaten very badly by Memphis police officers.
“After carefully listening to Tire Nichols’ family, community leaders, and the uninvolved who have done good work in their jobs, it is in everyone’s best interest to permanently deactivate the SCORPION unit,” the department said in a statement Saturday. The statement came after Chief Cerelyn Davis talked with the department about “the way forward.”
Earlier in the day, Barack and Michelle Obama spoke out against the “vicious and unjustified” killing of Tire Nichols, whose brutal beating at the hands of Memphis police was caught on body cam footage.
“The vicious and unjustified beating of Tire Nichols and his eventual death at the hands of five Memphis police officers is just the latest painful reminder of how far America still has to go to fix the way we police our streets,” the couple said in two tweets on Saturday.
As a result of the attack on Nichols, five Memphis police officers were fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression.
On Thursday, police picked up Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith.
The cops were all part of the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods (SCORPION) unit, which was started in late 2021 to put more police in “high crime” areas.
Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist, said that the policemen, who were all black, “disgrace our race” at a rally in Harlem on Saturday, when people from all over the country were protesting police brutality.
Sharpton said that the violence between police and black people has reached a “tipping point,” and she said this while supporting federal police laws. Sharpton said, “I want to say loud and clear that we will fight black cops, white cops, and any black cop who hurts us.”
Tire Nichols screamed for his mother while cops kept beating him.
Sharpton also said that the police would not have treated a white man the way they treated Nichols. According to the video, Nichols was not only beaten, but also pepper sprayed and tasered.
“You know you couldn’t do that to a white boy in Tennessee and get away with it. You won’t get away with it if you do it to a black man,” she said.