Protesters gathered in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, on Saturday, January 28, reacted to Memphis Police’s announcement that a special unit had been disbanded, after footage released on Friday showed five of its officers fatally beating Tyre Nichols.
In Saturday’s statement, Memphis Police described Nichols’s death as “tragic” and said they had listened “intently” to Nichols’s family, community leaders and other officers in the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods (SCORPION) unit, and decided it was “in the best interests of all to permanently deactivate the SCORPION unit.”
“The officers currently assigned to the unit agree unreservedly with this next step,” the police said.
Footage by Brendan Gutenschwager shows protesters welcoming the decision as “a start”.
“Everything under the [Organized Crime Unit], we want it abolished,” one protester tell a crowd outside the Memphis Police Department (MPD) building. “The SCORPION unit, that’s cool. That’s a start. They’re letting us know we’re doing something right.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) reported that 29-year-old Nichols died in the hospital on January 10 after a physical altercation with police on January 7. The five officers who “caused Nichols’ injuries” were charged with second-degree murder on Thursday. Credit: Brendan Gutenschwager via Storyful