Fulton County

Tyre Nichols death: Fulton sheriff calls on all agencies with SCORPION units to rename them

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat is calling on agencies with SCOPIRON units to rename them in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death.

Nichols died on Jan. 10, three days five police officers were captured on video beating him with a baton, punching him and kicking during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee. All five officers have been fired and charged with murder. Two other officers have been relieved of duty.

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Memphis police chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis, who used to work for Atlanta police, disbanded the SCORPION unit on Saturday. The five officers who were charged were members of the unit.

“It is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the Scorpion unit,” she said in a statement.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is one of several Georgia law enforcement agencies with a SCORPION unit. In a statement Tuesday, Sheriff Labat said the “heinous actions of the officers in Memphis have cast dishonor and suspicion on the title SCORPION.”

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He said agencies with SCORPION units should take proactive steps.

“We believe a name change is important but realize it is not in itself, a solution. Our executive leadership team is reviewing operations and training protocols. Any additional changes warranted will be implemented with the goal of strengthening our commitment to our mission and serving the citizens of Fulton County with integrity, transparency and honor,” Labat said.

SCORPION stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office unit started in July 2021 and currently consists of 14 members on the squad. Department policy requires all members of the SCORPION Unit to wear body cameras.

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