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Memphis Man Details Encounter With MPD’s SCORPION Unit Days Before Tyre Nichols’ Stop


A Memphis man is coming forward with his own experience with the Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION unit in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ beating death at the hands of officers. 

Cornell McKinney told WREG that he was stopped by the SCORPION unit, which is an acronym for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhood, just days before Nichols. 

“I actually read it on the back of their vest,” McKinney told the outlet. “It said MPD SCORPION Unit.”

He and a friend were stopped at a Marathon Gas Station, where he alleges they were pulled out of the car at gunpoint. 

“All I heard is a ‘Freeze, get out the car. Put your MF hands up before I blow your heads off. Both of you get out the car. Put your hands up,’” McKinney said. “So I put my hands up, and one of the officers proceeded to come to the car, and he physically pulled me out by my shoulder with a gun no more than a foot away from my head.”

He described the officers as using unmarked cars and refusing to say why the pair were stopped. He told the outlet that when he asked to speak to his lawyer, the officers “yelled out ‘This ain’t court. This ain’t the time for lawyers.’”

Additionally, the officers joked about the presence of drugs in the car before letting Cornell McKinney and his friend go.

“I was like, ‘Man, I just came to get a pizza,’” McKinney told the officer. “He was like, ‘I was just playing. Ain’t no pound in the car.’ And he let me walk off.” 

McKinney says he reached out to the MPD’s internal affair’s twice to lodge a complaint but has yet to hear back. WREG reached out to MPD about McKinney’s traffic stop but had yet to hear back by the time of publishing. 


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