The Memphis police chief says the video of the beating is perhaps worse than the notorious Rodney King footage. That is an apt description. The five officers delivered a completely unjustified and savage beating of a defenseless Tyre Nichols because he resisted a traffic stop.
The charges of second degree murder are absolutely merited. Under Tennessee law, it is the intent to commit serious bodily injury resulting in death. The video shows that the officers’ conduct was vicious and depraved. They were utterly indifferent to human life and used excessive police force at every turn.
The cops also broke every rule in the book —every single duty they owed to Nichols and the community. They failed to de-escalate the initial confrontation. They failed to properly control and subdue the suspect. They failed to utilize the minimal amount of force necessary to handle the situation Other officers failed to intervene to stop the excess force. And they failed to render aid to a severely injured and dying man.
Instead, the involved officers stood around and bragged about what they did while offering up excuses for their violent conduct. They will have a very difficult time trying to defend themselves in a court of law.
I don’t buy the notion that these officers were insufficiently trained. They were well trained, but decided to abandon everything they’d been taught because they were furious. Their attitude was, “How dare this guy resist! How dare he run away! He’s going to pay for it with a beating!” That’s the truth of what was going on. Their ugly anger is plainly depicted on the video.