FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Following the death of Tyre Nicols in Memphis that resulted in murder charges for five police officers in the department's SCORPION unit, the Fulton County sheriff in Georgia is calling for change within his office.
Sheriff Patrick Labat said on Tuesday that he thinks all agencies with SCORPION units should consider changing the name. In Fulton, it serves as the office's crime suppression unit.
“We believe a name change is important but realize it is not in itself, a solution," Labat said.
He went on to say that changes would help "protect and build even stronger bonds of trust with the communities."
On Friday, Jan. 27, Memphis officials released several videos from the night Tyre Nichols was beaten by several police officers after a traffic stop for alleged reckless driving.
"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 added.
In Memphis, the unit was disbanded days after the video was released. It had been inactive since Nichols' Jan. 7 arrest. It was composed of three teams of about 30 officers whose stated aim is to target violent offenders in areas beset by high crime.
Scorpion stands for Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods.
In Fulton County, the unit focuses on violent offenders and reducing gang-related crimes, they said. In a release, the described it as:
"The FCSO Scorpion Unit is responsible for providing proactive interdiction in areas of the county experiencing a high number of violent gun related crimes, street level narcotics crimes and gang activity. As part of its mission, the FCSO Scorpion Unit is also tasked with identifying crime patterns, repeat offenders and deploying all legal resources available to arrest criminal perpetrators."
Labat said his leadership team is "reviewing operations and training protocols."
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