SCORPION Unit inactive, Memphis mayor says

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland(WMC)
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 3:33 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says that the Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION Unit has been inactive since the death of Tyre Nichols, according to a statement issued Friday afternoon.

Formed in 2021, the SCORPION Unit is a 50-officer unit that was created to address violent crimes throughout the city.

It’s the same unit responsible for conducting the traffic stop on Nichols, who died Jan. 10 following a traffic stop by SCORPION officers that left him critically injured.

Attorney Antonio Romanucci, who is representing Nichols’ family alongside civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, spoke about the SCORPION Unit during a press conference Friday.

“Make no mistake, Tyre Nichols was an innocent victim on that night. He did nothing wrong. He was caught up in a sting,” Romanucci said.

He says there is likely a significant difference in the use of force between units like SCORPION and traditional MPD officers.

“They can’t collect guns, they can’t find stolen cars unless they trap innocent people in this web,” he said.

Hours later, Strickland released his weekly update, which read in part, “Since this event happened, the SCORPION Unit has been and remains inactive.”

Romanucci called for Police Chief CJ Davis to completely disband the SCORPION Unit immediately.

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