MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of Tyre Nichols and their attorneys are demanding changes to policing in America after the tragic death of the 29 year-old.  

WREG spoke with the family earlier, and to put things plainly, they want to see MPD’s SCORPION unit disbanded after they say his death revealed it’s a failure.

“Call out the culture, call out the culture,” Attorney Ben Crump said. “It doesn’t matter if the officer is a black officer, a Hispanic officer, or a white officer, it is the culture that allows them to think they can do this to Tyre.”

The policing tactics of Memphis Police are being called into question after the death of Tyre Nichols.

The 29-year-old was allegedly beaten by Memphis Police officers during a traffic stop earlier this month, leaving him with a broken neck, internal bleeding and suffering from other complications. We have since learned the officers were part of MPD’s SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhood) unit. The unit’s goal is to suppress crime in high-crime areas.

Attorney Antonio Romanucci, who represents Nichols’ family, believes the his death exposed flaws within the unit.

“We are asking Chief Davis to disband this SCORPION unit effective immediately,” Attorney Antonio Romanucci said. “The intent of SCORPION unit has now been corrupted. It cannot be brought back to center with any sense of morality and dignity, and more importantly, trust in this community.”

The SCORPION unit started under Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis. She believes it has been a success, considering that nearly 2,000 felons have been arrested, and they have taken 800 guns off the streets since 2021, according to MPD.

“I’m not ready to say our SCORPION employees are doing bad things,” Chief Davis said.

In an interview with WREG, Davis was unwilling to commit to disbanding the SCORPION unit but says an external review of all the department’s special units is underway.

“I really believe it would premature. We saw great success from officers that good work without incidents like this. These officers went off the rail, they were beyond the scope of what we’ve seen out of SCORPION unit,” Chief Davis said.

The discussion will continue after five officers have now been charged in the death of Tyre Nichols.

The Nichols’ family’s attorneys are also pushing for a law in his honor that would mandate officers have a duty to intervene when a crime occurs.