MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland has called for an outside review of the Memphis Police Department amid the investigation into Tyre Nichols’ death.
In his weekly email address to the city, Strickland said he has asked 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) to conduct a review. He said it would be “independent” and “external,” and would include an assessment of MPD’s use of force policies and the Special Units.
“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,” said Strickland in the email.
Nichols was beaten Jan. 7, 2023, after police stopped him for what they said was a traffic violation. Video released after pressure from Nichols’ family showed officers holding him down and repeatedly punching, kicking and striking him with a baton as he screamed for his mother. He died three days later.
Six of the officers involved were part of the so-called Scorpion unit, which targeted violent criminals in high-crime areas. Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said after the video’s release that the unit has been disbanded.
Five MPD officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder, kidnapping, and more. Two more officers have been relieved of duty. Three MFD employees were fired – two of them EMTs who had their licenses suspended Friday, Feb. 3. And two Shelby County deputies were relieved of duty.
The Department of Justice and FBI are also conducting a civil rights investigation into the case.