Memphis disbands police unit after fatal beating
MEMPHIS — The specialised police unit that included the 5 Memphis officers charged with the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols was disbanded on Saturday as extra protests passed off in US cities a day after harrowing video of the assault was launched.
The police division mentioned in an announcement it was completely deactivating the SCORPION unit after the police chief spoke with members of Mr. Nichols’ household, neighborhood leaders and different officers. A police spokesperson confirmed all 5 officers had been members of the unit.
Video recordings from police body-worn cameras and a digital camera mounted on a utility pole confirmed Mr. Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, repeatedly screaming “Mom!” as officers kicked, punched and struck him with a baton in his mom’s neighborhood after a Jan. 7 visitors cease. He was hospitalized and died of his accidents three days later.
5 officers concerned within the beating, all Black, had been charged on Thursday with homicide, assault, kidnapping and different prices. All have been dismissed from the division.
Mr. Nichols’ household and officers expressed outrage and sorrow however urged protesters to stay peaceable. That request was largely heeded on Friday when scattered protests broke out in Memphis — the place marchers briefly blocked an interstate freeway — and elsewhere.
Cities throughout america noticed renewed nonviolent demonstrations on Saturday. In Memphis, protesters chanting, “Whose streets? Our streets!” angrily catcalled a police automotive that was monitoring the march, with a number of making obscene gestures. Some cheered loudly once they discovered of the disbandment of SCORPION.
A whole lot of protesters gathered in New York’s Washington Sq. Park earlier than marching by way of Manhattan, as columns of police officers walked alongside them.
Taken collectively, the 4 video clips launched Friday confirmed police pummeling Nichols though he appeared to pose no risk. The preliminary visitors cease was for reckless driving, although the police chief has mentioned the trigger for the cease has not been substantiated.
The SCORPION unit, brief for the Avenue Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in our Neighborhoods, was shaped in October 2021 to focus on crime scorching spots. Critics say such specialised groups could be liable to abusive ways.
Family and friends say Mr. Nichols was an affable, proficient skateboarder who grew up in Sacramento, California, and moved to Memphis earlier than the coronavirus pandemic. The daddy of a 4-year-old baby, Mr. Nichols labored at FedEx and had not too long ago enrolled in a pictures class.
Nate Spates Jr., 42, was a part of a circle of pals, together with Mr. Nichols, who met up at a Starbucks within the space.
“He liked what he liked, and he marched to the beat of his own drum,” Mr. Spates mentioned, remembering that Mr. Nichols would go to a park referred to as Shelby Farms to look at the sundown when he wasn’t working a late shift. — Reuters