DOJ to Review Memphis Police Following Nichols Death

February 6, 2023

The U.S. Department of Justice is expected to participate in a review of the Memphis Police Department in the wake of the death of Tyre Nichols.

Last last month the Memphis police disbanded its elite “Scorpion” unit after five of its members were charged with murder in the beating of 29-year-old Nichols. The incident, caught on video, took place on January 7; Nichols died in a hospital three days later.

A sixth Memphis police officer, also of the disbanded Scorpion unit, was fired on Friday for his role in the initial traffic stop minutes before the beating incident. A seventh, unnamed officer has been relieved of duty as well.

Three EMTs have also been relieved of duty by the Memphis Fire Department for their conduct after arriving on the scene. The video shows that between the time the EMTs arrived and the ambulance arrived, first responders repeatedly walked away from Nichols, who had been placed sitting up against a car, while he intermittently fell upon his side. 

The upcoming review of the Memphis police by the DOJ’s Community Oriented Policing Services was disclosed in a bulletin by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland (D). It said that along with the DOJ, the International Association of Police Chiefs would also participate in the “independent, external review,” which was requested by the city.

The DOJ has not responded to a request for comment.

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