People demonstrate against police violence in Boston on Saturday
Photo: Vincent Ricci/ / ZUMA Wire / IMAGO
Three weeks after the violent death of black man Tire Nichols at a traffic stop in Memphis, police have disbanded a special unit involved in the case.
This step was "in everyone's best interest," said the police in the US city on Saturday.
The members of the special unit "agreed unreservedly" with the decision.
Nichols' family also supported the dissolution of the unit, which was only founded in 2021 to better respond to organized crime and drug-related crimes.
It was called Scorpion, which the BBC stands for "Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods."
50 people would have belonged to the unit.
Tire Nichols' death has been causing anger and outrage in the United States for days.
Five police officers were arrested and charged.
They are suspected of beating 29-year-old Nichols to death during a traffic stop on January 7.
The accused all belonged to the now dissolved special unit.
The charges include second-degree murder, aggravated assault and kidnapping.
Second-degree murder is an intermediate stage between murder and manslaughter in the state of Tennessee, where Memphis is located.
Kidnapping in this case refers to the illegal detention of a human being.
Video footage of the operation shows the police trying to bring Nichols to the ground with tear gas and a taser gun.
Your victim tries to flee, the officers stop him.
Later, Nichols is seen moaning in pain as the officers repeatedly punch and kick him while he is lying on the ground.
He succumbed to his injuries in hospital three days later.
Dozens of demonstrators protested police violence in Memphis on Saturday.
They called for police reform and for those responsible for Nichols' death to be held accountable.
The case is also explosive because Nichols was black and deadly police violence occurs again and again in the USA, which - in relation to their proportion of the population - falls disproportionately often to black people.
In this case, the five accused ex-police officers are also black.
A board member of the Black Lives Matter movement said anyone working in a system that uses state-sanctioned violence is complicit in perpetuating white supremacy.
In the past, similar attacks have repeatedly sparked violent protests across the country.
The murder of African American George Floyd by white police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020 led to nationwide demonstrations and sometimes violent riots.
Nichols' case is also often compared to the attack on Rodney King.
King was brutally beaten by police in Los Angeles in 1991.
Unlike Nichols, however, King survived with serious injuries.
In black families in the United States, it is common for parents to teach their children special behaviors to improve their chances of surviving a confrontation with the police.