Memphis, Tennessee. On Saturday, the Memphis police chief cited a “cloud of disgrace” from a newly released video in which some officers beat Tyre Nichols to death after stopping a black motorist. He then disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit.
Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis took action the day after the harrowing video was released and made the decision after consulting Nichols’ relatives, community leaders and unaffiliated officers. It takes place at a time when the country and city are struggling to deal with police violence who are also black. Renewed question as to whether deadly encounters continue.
Protesters marching through downtown Memphis cheered when they heard the troops were disbanded.
Davis refuted previous statements to keep the unit, citing “a few heinous actions” that had dishonored the unit.
“It is in everyone’s best interest to permanently disable the Scorpion unit,” she said in a statement.
The unit consists of three teams of about 30 police officers who target violent criminals in high-crime areas. Since Nicholls’ arrest on January 7, the group has been inactive.
Scorpion stands for Street Crime Operation to Restore Neighborhood Peace.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Davis said she would not close the unit if a few officers committed “horrible acts” and because she needed it to keep her job.
“The whole idea that the Scorpion squad is a bad squad, I just have a problem with it,” Davis said.
A year after George Floyd was murdered at the hands of Minneapolis police, she became the first black female mayor of Memphis. At the time, she was the mayor of Durham, North Carolina, and responded by calling for sweeping police reform.
Attorneys for the Nichols family, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, said the move was “a decent and fair decision.”
“We need to keep in mind that this is just the next step in this journey for justice and accountability, as it is clear that this wrongdoing is not limited to these professional forces. It’s spreading,” they said.
Five disgraceful police officers, Tadarius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith, have been fired. charged with murder And other crimes in Nichols’ death that came 3 days after arrestThey face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
Video footage released Friday showed police severely beating a 29-year-old FedEx employee for three minutes while the Nicholls family legal team yelled profanity at him in a similar assault. I’m here. The infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles driver Rodney KingNichols calls for his mother before his limping body is propped up by a police car and the officers exchange fists.
The video also left many unanswered questions about the traffic stop and other law enforcement officers who stood by as Nichols lay motionless on the pavement.
“Nobody tried to stop anything. They have a duty to intervene, they have a duty to care,” said Brenda Goss Andrews, president of the National Black Law Enforcement Agency, after watching the video. said in an interview.
She was also struck by how quickly the officers became aggressive once they got out of the car. From the moment I was stopped, I had no chance. “
Davis said other officers were investigating, and Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said two deputies were relieved of duty without pay while their actions were investigated. .
Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, said the family “continues to seek justice” and that those who failed to provide assistance “are just as responsible as the cops who delivered the blow”.
A spokeswoman for the Memphis Police Department declined to comment on the actions of other officers.
Cities across the country geared up for demonstrations after the video was released, but the protests were scattered and non-violent. Closed the bridge on Interstate 55. Protesters also blocked traffic in New York City, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.
Mills’ attorney, Blake Ballin, told the AP in a statement on Saturday that the video “raised as many questions as it has answers.”
Some of them focused on what Mills “knew and could see” and whether his actions “crossed the line that other officers had crossed in this case.” will guess
Davis acknowledged there is a shortage of supervisors in police departments and said the shortage of supervisors during arrests is a “big problem”. City officials have promised to provide more supervisors. .
Not sure why it was closed in the first place. One officer can be heard in the video saying that Nichols did not stop and veered as if he was going to hit the officer’s car. , says the policeman jumped out.
However, Davis said the department could not establish a reason for the suspension.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said, adding, “All we know is that the amount of force applied in this situation was excessive.”
After the co-pilot violently drops Nichols out of the car, Nichols is heard saying “I’m not doing anything” as a group of police officers begin knocking him to the ground.
I hear one cry. Taze him!
Nichols calmly said, “OK, I’m on the ground,” and said he was just trying to get home. After a while he yelled at them to stop.
Nichols is then seen running as cops fire tasers. Cops begin chasing Nichols.
Others are called in and a search continues before Nichols is caught at another intersection. His mother’s house where he lived was just a few doors away and his family said he was going there.
The police beat him with a baton and kicked and punched him. Even if he falls, the attack continues.
After that, it takes more than 20 minutes before any kind of medical treatment is provided.
While waiting for an ambulance, the officer jokes and grumbles. They complain that a portable radio was ruined, someone lost a flashlight, and multiple officers were caught in the pepper spray used against Nichols.
Throughout the video, they allege that Nichols’ actions are not backed up by footage, or that the district attorney or other officials say otherwise. One officer claims Nichols reached for the officer’s gun and had his hand almost on his steering wheel during the first traffic stop, but this is not shown in the video.
After Nichols was handcuffed and leaning against a police car, some officers say he must have been high. Later, one says no drugs were found in Nichols’ car, and another quickly counters that he must have thrown something away while he was fleeing.
In a speech in Harlem on Saturday, Reverend Al Sharpton said the beating was particularly bad because the police were also black.
“Your blackness will not stop us from fighting you. These five cops have not only tarnished their names, they have tarnished our race,” Sharpe said. Ton said.
Associated Press reporters Aaron Morrison of New York, Travis Lawler of Nashville, Tennessee, Rebecca Reynolds of Lexington, Kentucky, and Gary Fields of Washington, DC contributed to this report.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
https://www.local10.com/news/national/2023/01/28/memphis-police-video-leaves-many-unanswered-questions/ Memphis police disband unit that beat Tyre Nichols