MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan 28 (Reuters) – The specialised police unit that included the 5 Memphis officers charged with the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols was disbanded on Saturday as extra protests happened in U.S. cities a day after harrowing video of the assault was launched.
The police division stated in an announcement it was completely deactivating the SCORPION unit after the police chief spoke with members of Nichols’ household, group leaders and different officers. A police spokesperson confirmed all 5 officers have been members of the unit.
Video recordings from police body-worn cameras and a digital camera mounted on a utility pole confirmed Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, repeatedly screaming “Mother!” 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, have been charged on Thursday with homicide, assault, kidnapping and different expenses. All have been dismissed from the division.
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 automobile that was monitoring the march, with a number of making obscene gestures. Some cheered loudly once they discovered of the disbandment of SCORPION.
Lots of of protesters gathered in New York’s Washington Sq. Park earlier than marching by Manhattan, as columns of law enforcement officials walked alongside them.
Taken collectively, the 4 video clips launched Friday confirmed police pummeling Nichols although he appeared to pose no risk. The preliminary visitors cease was for reckless driving, although the police chief has stated 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 fashioned in October 2021 to focus on crime sizzling spots. Critics say such specialised groups could be susceptible to abusive techniques.
Family and friends say 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 youngster, Nichols labored at FedEx and had just lately enrolled in a pictures class.
Nate Spates Jr., 42, was a part of a circle of mates, together with Nichols, who met up at a Starbucks within the space.
“He appreciated what he appreciated, and he marched to the beat of his personal drum,” Spates stated, remembering that Nichols would go to a park referred to as Shelby Farms to observe the sundown when he wasn’t working a late shift.
Nichols’ loss of life is the most recent high-profile occasion of police utilizing extreme pressure towards Black individuals and different minorities. The 2020 homicide of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for greater than 9 minutes, galvanized worldwide protests over racial injustice.
Reporting by Maria Cardona in Memphis, Tennessee, and Diane Bartz in Washington; Writing by Joseph Ax; Modifying by Cynthia Osterman, Robert Birsel
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