The Justice Department has launched a sweeping investigation into the Memphis Police Department following the tragic death of Tyre Nichols, the Black man who succumbed to injuries after a brutal police encounter in January.
The investigation seeks to determine whether Memphis PD has been engaging in discriminatory policing and violating constitutional rights through excessive use to force searches and arrests.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke announced the inquiry based on publicly available information and emphasized everyone’s right to non-discriminatory policing. The probe is distinct from a federal criminal civil rights investigation into the officers directly linked to Nichols’ death, which spurred citywide protests.
The officers charged, all members of the special Scorpion Unit, face charges of second-degree murder among others and have pled not guilty.
Amid the investigation, federal officials are set to create guidelines to help mayors and police chiefs decide when specialized units should be formed.
This marks the ninth such investigation into law enforcement misconduct by the Justice Department during the Biden administration. But whether this investigation brings about much-needed police reform is yet to be determined.