The police unit that included the five Memphis officers charged with the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols was disbanded as more protests took place in US cities. 

The police department said in a statement it was permanently deactivating the SCORPION unit after the police chief spoke with members of Nichols’ family, community leaders and other officers. A police spokesperson confirmed all five officers were members of the unit, as reported by Reuters.

The move came a day after a harrowing video of the attack was released by the Memphis authorities. The officers held the Black motorist down and struck him repeatedly as he screamed for his mother. Nichols was manhandled by police following his arrest for a traffic violation in the city of Memphis.  

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Cities across the country braced for large demonstrations. However, protests in Memphis, New York City, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, have been scattered and non-violent. Nichols’ relatives have also urged supporters to protest peacefully. 

“This young man, by definition of the law in this state, was terrorized. Not by one, not by two, but by five officers who we now know … acted in concert with each other,” said attorney Antonio Romanucci, who represents Nichols’ family.

Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis described the officers’ actions as “heinous, reckless and inhumane,” and said that her department has been unable to substantiate the reckless driving allegation that prompted the stop.

She told The Associated Press in an interview that there is no video of the traffic stop that shows Nichols recklessly driving.

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Bodycam footage showed the officers savagely beating Nichols, a FedEx worker, for three minutes while screaming profanities at him. Nichols called out for his mother before his limp body was propped against a squad car and the officers exchanged fist-bumps. He died in hospital on January 10, three days after the January 7 attack.

All five officers involved have since been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other offenses.

The father of a four-year-old son, Nichols worked for FedEx, loved skateboarding and taking photos, and had a tattoo of his mother’s name on his arm.

The young man’s death drew immediate comparisons with the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, another Black man whose suffocation by a white police officer in Minneapolis was caught on film.

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Speaking at the White House, President Joe Biden said Friday that he was “very concerned” about the prospect of violence and called for protests to remain peaceful.

Biden said he spoke with Nichols’ mother earlier in the day and told her that he was going to be “making a case” to Congress to pass the George Floyd Act “to get this under control.” The legislation, which has been stalled, is meant to tackle police misconduct and excessive force and boost federal and state accountability efforts.


Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said the footage of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers is “horrible” and that the attack “never should have happened.”

“I thought it was terrible. He was in such trouble. He was just being pummeled. Now that should never have happened,” Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, a day after authorities released footage of the attack on the 29-year-old Black man after a traffic stop. Nichols died three days later.

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