The Memphis Police Department announced over the weekend that it was disbanding an important anti-crime task force in the wake of the death of Tyre Nichols.
Nichols died on January 10, three days after Memphis police pulled him over in a traffic stop for “reckless driving” near Raines Road and Ross Road in Memphis, Tennessee.
Police said that during the stop, a “confrontation occurred,” at which point Nichols ran away from police on foot as they attempted to apprehend him. Video of the incident was released last night by law enforcement.
The Memphis Police Department said Saturday night that it was ending the SCORPION Unit (Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) after officials met with Chief Cerelyn ‘C J.’ Davis to discuss recent events.
“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. “The officers currently assigned to the unit agree unreservedly with this next step. 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 Memphis Police Department remains committed to serving our community and taking every measure possible to rebuild the trust that has been negatively affected by the death of Mr. Tyre Nichols,” police added.
Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmit Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith have all been charged with two counts of official misconduct, local media reported, with one count of official oppression, second-degree murder, aggravated assault-act in concert, and two counts of aggravated kidnapping.
Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, told CNN on Friday that those who protest her son’s death should not riot because that is not what her son would have wanted.
“I don’t want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” Wells said. “And if you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.”
Related: Two More Law Enforcement Officers Under Investigation Over Alleged Involvement In Death Of Tyre Nichols