Following fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, Memphis police disband SCORPION Unit

A Memphis police car.
A Memphis police car. Brad Vest/Getty Images

The Memphis Police Department announced Saturday that it would disband the anti-gang SCORPION unit to which the officers involved in the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols belonged.

Short for "Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods," the SCORPION Unit has been heavily criticized following a traffic stop in which five of the unit's officers severely beat 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. Nichols would die from his injuries three days after the beating. Nichols was Black, as were the officers who attacked him.

Body cam footage showed Nichols being pummeled numerous times with the officer's batons, fists, and boots, even as he pleaded for them to stop. The officers were fired by the police department and have since been charged with murder.


"It is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the SCORPION Unit," Memphis Police officials said in a statement. "The officers currently assigned to the unit agree undeservedly with this next step. While the heinous actions of a few cast 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."

Following the announcement, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, civil rights attorneys representing the Nichols family, released a statement of their own lauding the decision. "The Nichols family and their legal team find the decision to permanently disband this 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," the attorneys said.

Others said the move didn't go far enough. "The community has a lot more questions and a lot more demands," Memphis city council member Patrice Robinson told CNN. "We really need to investigate and find out what's going on."

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Following fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, Memphis police disband SCORPION Unit