Tire Nichols arrest video released by Memphis officials

Some of the five former Memphis police officers charged in Tire Nichols’ fatal beating are members of a recently formed department tasked with tackling the city’s rising crime problem.

When the SCORPION Force launched in 2021 — on behalf of Street Crime Operations to restore peace in our neighborhoods — it was hailed as a direct response to some of the city’s worst crimes. Supporting the department, Mayor Jim Strickland mentioned it in a January 2022 address to the city, proudly noting 566 arrests (390 of which were felonies) and More than $103,000 in cash was seized.

“Statistically, the crime rate is high. Tactically, it was a logical move for police departments to create SCORPION,” said John Miller, CNN’s chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst. “These units are being deployed in areas where police are tracking an increase in violent crime.”

Miller said “targeted deployments can have a good impact,” but noted that there could be problems:

“The question may lie in three key places: Do they have specialized, tailored de-escalation training, and how do they manage the rapid development of events? Have you looked at their history of civilian complaints, history of use of force, and discussed with their former supervisors their suitability for this job? Finally, oversight.”

Units deactivated after Nichols’ death: At least two of the officers charged in Nichols’ death were members of SCORPION, which CNN reported Friday has been deactivated amid the Memphis Police Department’s review process.

Police Maj. Karen Rudolph told CNN that the unit “has not been disbanded” and that the review included 10 specialized units “working similarly” to SCORPION.

In a weekly letter to the Memphis community, Strickland also commented on the scrutiny.

“It is clear that these officers violated departmental policy and training. I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again. We are conducting an external independent review of our dedicated departmental training, policy and operations. Since The SCORPION Unit has been vacant since this incident,” the mayor wrote.

Nichols’ family attorney, Antonio Romanucci, called on Memphis Police Chief Serelin “CJ” Davis to immediately dismantle the department.

You can read more about the Memphis SCORPION installation here.

CNN’s Don Lemon and Jamiel Lynch contributed reporting to this article.

Source link