Murderous Memphis Police part of Troubled Special Unit

Officers were part of the SCORPION Unit that often had violent confrontations with citizens.


by Michael Patrick Leahy, The Tennessee Star.com, January 2, 2023
 

The five former Memphis police officers who were charged last week with second degree murder in the beating death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols were part of a special, 40-member SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) unit established in October 2021 by Memphis Police Department Chief Cerelyn Davis and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, a Democrat.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Police Chief Cerelyn Davis.

Police body cam and street surveillance video of the January 7, 2023 beating of Nichols, who died on January 10 as a result of those injuries, released on Friday night raised multiple questions about violations of standard police protocol by the five former officers: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, and Desmond Mills, Jr. (pictured above).

The officers claimed that Nichols was stopped on January 7 because they observed him driving recklessly. On Friday, Chief Davis said there was no evidence to support that claim.

The body cam video of the beginning of the incident shows that Nichols was sitting in the drivers seat of his stopped vehicle when one of the five officers approached. Rather than following standard protocol followed in normal traffic stops and asking Nichols for his registration and drivers license, the officer opened the car door, dragged Nichols out of the car, and threw him to the ground.

Subsequently, several officers surrounded the prone Nichols, yelling “show us your hands.” None appeared to possess handcuffs and, inexplicably, the officers were unable to subdue Nichols, who subsequently, again inexplicably, was able to evade multiple officers and run away from the first location, only to be chased by multiple officers to another location an estimated 100 yards away where the fatal beating was delivered.

Surveillance video screenshot / Memphis Police Department

Mark Perrasquia of the University of Memphis Institute for Public Service Reporting reported on Wednesday:

Records show the five fired officers operated on SCORPION’s Team One, patrolling hotspots throughout the city. Often, their actions led to volatile confrontations.

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Such an event happened Sept. 20 when members of Team One spotted a Cadillac CTS with an expired temporary tag in Memphis’s Douglass community. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, it made “a quick evasive maneuver”, a report said. The team then “set up a perimeter’’ and pursed the vehicle. The report lists now-fired officers Martin, Mills and Bean as detectives participating in the action.

The body cam video of the beginning of the incident shows that Nichols was sitting in the drivers seat of his stopped vehicle when one of the five officers approached. Rather than following standard protocol followed in normal traffic stops and asking Nichols for his registration and drivers license, the officer opened the car door, dragged Nichols out of the car, and threw him to the ground. Subsequently, several officers surrounded the prone Nichols, yelling “show us your hands.” None appeared to possess handcuffs and, inexplicably, the officers were unable to subdue Nichols, who subsequently, again inexplicably, was able to evade multiple officers and run away from the first location, only to be chased by multiple officers to another location an estimated 100 yards away where the fatal beating was delivered.

Surveillance video screenshot / Memphis Police Department

Mark Perrasquia of the University of Memphis Institute for Public Service Reporting reported on Wednesday:

Records show the five fired officers operated on SCORPION’s Team One, patrolling hotspots throughout the city. Often, their actions led to volatile confrontations.

Such an event happened Sept. 20 when members of Team One spotted a Cadillac CTS with an expired temporary tag in Memphis’s Douglass community. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, it made “a quick evasive maneuver”, a report said. The team then “set up a perimeter’’ and pursed the vehicle. The report lists now-fired officers Martin, Mills and Bean as detectives participating in the action.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE OF THIS STORY IN THE TENNESSEE STAR.COM
 

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