Memphis police shut down elite ‘Scorpion’ task force after Tyre Nichols beating
Memphis cops’ elite “SCORPION” unit — involved in the fatal beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols earlier this month — has been shut down because of the “heinous actions of a few,” the police department announced Saturday.
At least two of the five officers who have now been charged with Nichols’ murder were members of the unit, whose acronym stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods.
Memphis police said members of SCORPION met with Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis to “discuss the path forward” after Nichols’ death and the arrest of five officers, who were charged with second-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping in the case.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
“The current 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 Nichols family had already called for the unit to be disbanded.
“This SCORPION unit was…creating a continual pattern and practice of bad behavior,” charged Nichols family attorney Antonio Romanucci at a news conference Friday.
The secretive 50-person unit was created in 2021 as a response to a skyrocketing murder rate in the city. They were deployed in high-crime neighborhoods, often using unmarked vehicles and targeted homicides, assaults and major felonies.
Read more of the Post’s coverage of Tyre Nichols’ beating death
Mayor Jim Strickland championed the unit in a 2022 city address, pointing out how they had made more than 550 arrests and were having a significant impact on violent crimes.