Memphis Officials Seek To Strike Statements From Tyre Nichols Lawsuit

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Memphis officials are looking to strike certain statements from a lawsuit filed on behalf of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black who was fatally beaten by police during a traffic stop in January.

On Friday (July 7), the city of Memphis and other officials filed a motion in US District Court in the Western District of Tennessee, requesting the court strike “all allegations related to the RED DOG Unit” because they are “immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous statements that are unduly prejudicial to the City Defendants and have no bearing on or relevance to Plaintiff’s alleged claims against the City,” per CNN.

Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis, who is named in Nichols' lawsuit, and assistant police chief Shawn Davis, were previously involved with the RED DOG unit, or Run Every Drug Dealer Out of Georgia, which operated in Atlanta until it was shut down in 2011 after years of complaints of alleged malpractices and constitutional violations.

According to the lawsuit filed by Nichols' family, “Chief Davis and Assistant Chief Jones’ history with the Atlanta Police Department and their involvement with the RED DOG Unit should have given the City pause before hiring them.” Memphis officials, however, argue that “any alleged past wrongs of the RED DOG Unit are irrelevant to the City’s alleged liability in this case and only serve to prejudice the City."

The city's motion comes after five members of Memphis’ now-disbanded SCORPION unit were charged with murder in Nichols’ brutal beating.

In April, Nichols' family filed a $550 million lawsuit against Memphis, its police department, and the five special unit officers. Nichols' family compared his death to the 1955 killing of Emmett Till, saying Memphis police officers acted as "a modern-day lynch mob" during the beating.

"Unlike Till, this lynching was carried out by those adorned in department sweatshirts and vests, and their actions were sanctioned—expressly and implicitly—by the City of Memphis," the lawsuit states. The suit also states that Nichols' death was a "direct and foreseeable product of the unconstitutional policies, practices, customs, and deliberate indifference" from Memphis and its police department.

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