MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department will undergo an independent, external review by the Department of Justice and a national police organizations following the death of Tyre Nichols after a brutal traffic stop.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland on Friday announced that the City of Memphis has engaged with
the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (“COPS”), through the Collaborative Reform Initial Technical Assistant Center (“CRI-TAC”) program, and the International Association of Police Chiefs (IACP).

The review by those agencies will include an assessment of MPD’s special units and use of force policies.

The city already has disbanded its SCORPION Unit, a specialized unit created in 2021 to combat crime, following Nichols’ death in January.

Five police officers involved in the Nichols traffic stop were fired and charged with second-degree murder and other charges. All five were assigned to the SCORPION Unit.

Surveillance and body camera video shows several officers beating, kiccking and pepper sraying Nichols, then leaving him in the street after he ran from a traffic stop Jan. 7. He died in a hospital three days later.

The death of Nichols has prompted calls from the community and civil rights leaders for reform, and sympathy from national figures including President Joe Biden. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at Nichols’ funeral in Memphis this week.

Strickland said the aim of the review is “To honor Tyre and help make sure this type of tragedy does not happen again …”

“While we no doubt have a long way to go on the road to healing, hopefully through our actions, citizens will see we are working to be better and that we are heading down the right path,” he said.

Strickland did not say in his statement Friday when the review would begin or end.