Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis is currently in charge of investigating the Tyre Nichols murder. Before taking over as the chief of the Memphis Police Department, Davis started her career with the Atlanta Police Department.
In 2006, Davis served as the Commander of the APD’s infamous Red Dog Unit. The unit was started in the late 1980s to combat the drug crews that initiated violence in urban communities. The Red Dog Unit was known for its aggressive tactics when it came to arrests and fighting crimes.
In 2011, Mayor Kasim Reed disbanded the Red Dog Unit due to a multitude of accusations of excessive force, police brutality, illegal searches, and a violation of civil rights.
Ten years later, the Memphis Police Department would create a similar unit called SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods). The unit consisted of 40 police officers split into four teams assigned to control high crime areas, mostly predominantly Black.
The unit initially received praise from politicians, including Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland who said the unit had made 390 felony arrests and helped to decrease the crime rate by %12. However, following Nichols death, the unit was disbanded.
Davis was fired from the APD in 2008 after two detectives revealed that she told them not to investigate Terrill Marion Crane who was accused of having images of himself with underage girls. Crane was the husband of Davis’ co-worker, Tonya Crane.
Davis would be hired as the police chief of the Memphis Police Department in 2021.
In terms of the Tyre Nichols investigation in Memphis, Davis responded to the disbanding of the SCORPION Unit by saying, “It is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the Scorpion unit to take proactive steps in the healing process.”