All five former police officers indicted in the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols were members of the now-scrapped SCORPION unit, a spokesperson with the Memphis Police Department confirmed to CNN.
“The officers who have been terminated were members of the SCORPION Unit,” Major Karen Rudolph said in a statement Saturday.
The former officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin and Desmond Mills Jr., have each been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct and one charge of official oppression for their actions during the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols.
The Memphis Police Department announced earlier Saturday that it will permanently deactivate the SCORPION Unit.
The Memphis mayor’s office declined to comment on the move Saturday afternoon.
Some background: When it was launched in 2021, the SCORPION unit – Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods – was heralded as a direct response to some of the city’s worst crime, with a focus on homicides, robberies, assaults and other felonies.
The unit was used in targeted deployments, which put officers into areas where police were tracking upticks in violent crime.
It faced increased scrutiny after revelations that officers from the unit were involved in Nichols' death. The family's attorney, Antonio Romanucci, had called on Memphis police to permanently disband the unit immediately.
You can read more about SCORPION here.