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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Memphis Releases Deadly Police Beating Video; Video Appears To Show Tyre Nichols Hit By Police At Least 9 Times In Under 4 Minutes. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired January 27, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sort of lapsing in and out of consciousness, but the trajectory is, is that the brain will just continue to swell. And that's the real problem and that's why timing is so critical.
I mean, you have to render care, but he needed to be going to a hospital as quickly as possible and the EMS vehicle as far as I can tell is there. That's what's so anxiety-provoking to watch that.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Yes, well, Sanjay, thank you. Thank you, Shimon. Standby.
I'm going to toss it back to my colleagues in New York, but you're watching the video being played -- being released by the Memphis Police Department at this point -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Don, you know, it is amazing as we watch this together, you're in Memphis; I'm here, we're watching this and we are still watching. Everyone should understand, this is still the actual video released by the City of Memphis.
So as we're watching here, this isn't a replay, this isn't a let's just show how long it took them. This is still happening. He is still lying there.
We understand there's another six or seven minutes more to go before this sky cam video ends.
So all this time is happening as they're milling around and as Sanjay was just telling Don, in critical condition, you have someone lying on the ground there and they're doing nothing.
As our coverage continues here. This is a Special Edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360. And I'm Erin Burnett along with my colleague, Don Lemon, who has been on the ground covering this story tirelessly from Memphis.
All of our reporters and our experts are standing by. Van Jones is also with us and Van, as we watch this, I want to emphasize again, we are not replaying it. This is not a clip. This is still happening.
Nothing has happened. The beating now is more than 12 or more minutes ago, and he's just still lying on the ground.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Brutal, inhumane, unacceptable, unjustifiable.
I mean, he is just now getting attention -- a dog being beaten would have gotten some help from somebody by this point. And also, you know, we talk about the images.
The voices are so telling. Tyre's voice, the first time you hear him. He's calm. He's trying to calm the police down. He's saying "All right, all right, all right." He goes from a voice of reason and calm, and they are so brutal toward him that he runs.
The next time you hear him he's gone from calm to panic. "Ma, ma, ma, ma" screaming for his mother. He is a hundred yards from his house, hoping that somebody can help him.
And then he goes from a voice of calm to panic to agony, completely incoherent, unable to form a word. You watch this deterioration of a human being.
If you couldn't see it, you could hear it. You could hear it. And then the cops voices, profane. "I hope they stomp his ass," unbelievable level of viciousness.
And then the only sympathy is for themselves, because they're so busy pepper spraying him, they are pepper spraying each other.
Look at the reaction of the police to the pepper spray on themselves. They can't stand the burning the sensation, the capsaicin in their eyes. They need help from each other. And yet still, the beating is continuing for someone else, and no aid to someone else, who got the full force of the pepper spray.
And so even if you didn't see these images, just the voice of Tyre, you can tell he was the only calm person at the beginning. And at the end, he can't even form a word.
This is disgusting. It's despicable. It is inhumane. It is shocking. It's as bad as people said. But even if you couldn't see it, you could hear the inhumanity here.
BURNETT: John Miller, one thing that I think was so powerful as Van's words, as profound as they are, is the fact that there was no audio, and we heard the screaming on the police bodycam. But the part where we could see it didn't have audio.
And for me, that actually was more powerful, to be forced to watch something without the audio when I knew what was happening.
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, oftentimes, it's the view that allows you to stand back from the incident and not be in the middle of it, and remove all the distractions of the sounds where you can see it most clearly, and that is what we've just experienced when you saw that first baton strike followed by the two or three head kicks, followed by the head punches that were going on, which was all alarming.
But when you see what happens after, when it goes from this pitch brutality to slow motion where he is lying there. There's a fire department unit that gets there, an ambulance team, and they're standing there and they engage with a brief conversation and that medical bag is sitting on the ground.
MILLER: And they're still standing there and an enormous amount of time is going by without a stretcher coming out, without him being put in an ambulance, without vital signs being taken, without injuries being treated.
And as Sanjay told us, you know, we've seen multiple instances of blunt head trauma, where his brain is starting to swell, a concussion is turning into something worse, and the two medical professionals are kind of standing around, waiting for -- it is not clear what.
BURNETT: And Darrin, this is what -- nine times in under four minutes, we understand from watching this is how many times he was struck, and yet what you are struck by watching this is the complete and utter lack of urgency by anybody. It seems like there's paperwork coming out.
I mean, there is absolutely no care for the fact that there's a human being sitting there.
DARRIN PORCHER, FORMER NYPD LIEUTENANT: Absolutely, you have to take in consideration police officers or public servants. The public is not being served appropriately in this case. But I want to go back to another point that you mentioned earlier, Erin, in connection with the view that we have, the silent view.
The pole camera gives us an unobstructed view, whereas when we look at the bodycam video from the officers, it is somewhat juxtaposed, it's bouncing all over the place. So, we don't have the ability to gain a clear and concise angle, whereas the pole camera gives us a far more comprehensive perspective as to what's happening. Therefore, we can frame this accordingly.
And then when we speak to the testament of a person that's in need of care, you as a police officer, it's commonplace for an officer to shoot someone and then turn around and do CPR on that same person that they shot.
But we look at this situation, we have officers that are clearly embarking upon a campaign of brutality, and no one is doing anything to help him.
And so it goes back to the failure to act, the failure to care, and the overall obliviousness of the officers that are just standing around when we clearly had someone that should have been taken into custody and removed from the scene. BURNETT: Finally, you see a stretcher, okay, this is still the video playing out. Everyone should know, it has not finished, we are not replaying it. This is still playing out.
Finally, a stretcher has come. And Joey, as we're talking about this, when you watch it, you feel as if it's sort of everybody just ganging up, ganging up on somebody.
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You do. And I think Aaron that that is part and parcel for why the prosecutor is charging it in acting in concert.
Remember, there is no distinction from a prosecution perspective with regard to what they're being charged with. And if you look at the charges, and you look at their conduct, I think you can match it pretty clearly and make the case in front of a jury.
There are people who are asking, "Hey, is it murder one? Is it murder two?" Well, what's the difference? The prosecutor in murder one, Erin, does not have to prove that it's a premeditated killing, but instead have to prove under murder two that it's a knowing killing.
What does that mean? It means you're reckless. It means that you have to know and appreciate that as a result of that conduct that a death could result. And you cannot tell me if you're punching someone indiscriminately and repeatedly in the face, if you're kicking someone in the face and about their body, if you're using a baton to strike them multiple times, that you can't appreciate that this would happen. What more so, Erin?
Look at the weight differential. We've heard the reports with respect to Mr. Nichols and him weighing 140 pounds and being six-three, well, look for our own eyes at how big these officers are, and that certainly is going to play into the prosecution here. Just really hard to watch.
BURNETT: Incredibly hard to watch. And of course, five of them charged with second degree. And a lot of others, nine or 10, we've counted come in and out, we don't yet have charges for, we don't know where that will go, Don, as we're watching this.
Again, finally, an ambulance pulling up here, Don, as we're all watching. This is still all playing out, all of them standing around, the ambulance now pulling up.
LEMON: And I'm wondering about the training of these officers and exactly what's the reason -- John Miller, can you answer this question? What's the reason for these pole cameras? Who is watching these pole cameras? If you have an incident, obviously, that's ongoing and they someone can see it somewhere.
What's the reason? Is someone watching these cameras? Why wouldn't they send help? Why wouldn't they get on the horn and say something is wrong here? What's going on?
MILLER: So generally, someone isn't watching these pole cameras. Generally, the pole cameras are there to record things in areas where they're having crimes and then once you have the report of the crime, you can rewind the camera and say, do we see a suspect? Do we have the actual crime and so on. That's the primary purpose.
What's interesting about the pole cameras and we'll have to go back over this later is at the beginning of it, you see, it's far away, then you see it pans over and zooms in. We're going to have to figure out, was someone on the pan, tilt, zoom other end of that thing?
BURNETT: Yes, why did it zoom? I noticed that.
MILLER: Or is it a thing where they located the camera, the incident is in the background and they blew it up to make it clearer. That's something we'll have to get to bottom of.
But I think when you look at some of the things that Lieutenant Porcher has said, and some of the questions raised here, you come back to the same three places.
It's a highly specialized unit. What was the selection process for these officers? Because you're supposed to be getting the best of the best. What was the added training beyond their normal police training? Because they're going to be involved in crimes in progress and armed people.
And then the thing we keep coming back to which is, this is something Chief CJ Davis has talked about, span of control. Span of control in normal life is one sergeant to eight or 10 cops and you're supervising your team. Span of control for high-end plainclothes operations targeting violent crime and guns, that should be one to three, one to four, tops one to five.
And here we have five police officers, then eight and no supervisor on the scene. What would the difference be? The difference would be not that you would have a ranking person to supervise an active police brutality, the difference would be, you would have the level of supervision and experience for someone to very early on say, okay, what have you got? That translates to, how did this start? What's it about?
Well, it was traffic, sir. Okay, so this is traffic only. We're not chasing a stick up, man. We don't have a pound of narcotics. We don't have a gun in the car. So, let's wind this thing down. Let's wind this thing down now.
None of that occurs. This is an incident that is entirely self- propelling, and that's a problem. And one that the Chief recognized.
She said, I have a span of control problem. We don't have enough supervisors.
LEMON: John Miller, everyone there standby in New York. We're live here in Memphis, Tennessee, and we're going to go live to our colleague Sara Sidner, who is at the scene where Tyre Nichols was beaten by police. She is going to show us exactly where the police beating happened.
Plus this, we are watching protests right now in cities all across the US. These are images that you're going to look at in just moments. There it is. WUSA, our affiliate there out of Washington, we'll be back in just a moment live here on CNN with our special coverage of AC 360.
BURNETT: Right now, we are watching a number of peaceful protests in cities across the United States after the video of Tyre Nichols' violent arrest.
Let's just show you some of the images Don and I are watching. Washington where the crowd has been growing in size. Some of the signs people are carrying, they're calling for justice for Nichols.
Also in Memphis, of course, people are gathering. There the crowd now blocking the Interstate 55 Bridge. They have been chanting "No justice, no peace," although I will emphasize peaceful protests thus far.
Out of Philadelphia, some images that we can share with you of crowds marching through the streets. Again there though, all the protests are peaceful.
And it is, Don, when you think about it right now, and obviously the night is early, there has been a plea from the family, a plea from President Biden for peaceful protests, at least at this early time. That is what we are seeing.
LEMON: And we hope it remains that way, and we expect it to remain that way, because if you look at how this police department, this Police Chief, this city has handled it so far, listen, no city, no person is perfect, but they have done a good job in explaining to people what was to be in this video that we have seen, and also acting immediately by firing the police officers, and at least trying to get some accountability before releasing the video tape.
And then Erin, I want to get to our colleague now, Sara Sidner, who is at the scene where Tyre Nichols was savagely beaten by five members of the Memphis Police Department.
So Sara, you're there in the neighborhood, we saw on the camera. We heard Tyre crying out for his mom on the corner where you are while officers show really no concern for his life, just disregard.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Disregard, disrespect for humanity really is what we saw, kick after kick, punch after punch.
And I think those were laid just around here. You see there behind me, our photographer Jerry is going to kind of give you a look at what this neighborhood is. It's a neighborhood of houses that are, you know, very similar.
It is a quiet neighborhood here, and we know, you hear over and over again, you hear him screaming, "Mom, mom, mom." He is screaming "Mom, mom, mom," because he was so close to home. He is about 80 or so yards, according to his mother, and his mother said to me today, "I am sure he was actually hoping that I could hear him, and I am devastated as a mother," she said, "Because I couldn't be there in his time of need to save him."
I want to show you what captured all of this because had it not been for what they call the sky cop. You see the blue light up there. And underneath it there is this shield and then MPD -- we are hearing from people in the neighborhood -- that took the video that we all saw. Without it, we may not have gotten the full picture of exactly what happened.
Because you notice that the bodycam video of one of the officers was obscured at some point, you could only hear what was going on. And the body camera video that we watched of another officer who drove up and then subsequently came to this part of the scene because there were really two scenes here, the first one where there was extreme aggression, extremely immediately when they came upon Tyre Nichols, we don't know what that's all about.
And then again, here, there was just a beat down. And one person described it to us, it looked like a pack of wolves. That's what we heard from the attorneys for the Nichols family, that to them, this appear to be a pack of wolves, people who had just lost their minds and decided to take out a human being with no care for anything about who he is and that he is somebody's child.
So that is what we're experiencing here. It is very quiet. It is peaceful in this neighborhood. We know there is a vigil just down the street about a mile or so being held in one of the churches here, where people were praying.
We saw them praying. My producer and I have been talking about it. She went in to see. They were just praying because they knew this video was going to come out, and they knew this video was going to be painful, injurious, not just to the family, but they are going to suffer the most, but also an injury to the entire community.
And a couple of police officers that I know have said, "This is so bad for us, as well." And the mother of Mr. Nichols, not only being and calling for peace, but saying the officers' lives are forever ruined. They hurt their own families with what they did, and she just cannot understand it and she just doesn't know how to process this. She has not processed it yet.
But this happened in her neighborhood, and she is going to have to live with that for the time being, and that is going to be very, very difficult when she is able to process what happened to her son who she called a free spirit -- Don. LEMON: I hope that people are listening to Miss Wells and they are going to heed her words about keeping everything peaceful, protest if you want but make sure it's peaceful.
Sara Sidner, live in the neighborhood where it happened. Sara, thank you very much.
We're going to get back now and talk about the video and you see some of the protests. There is one now in Memphis, Tennessee that you're looking at courtesy of our affiliate WUSA.
And as Erin pointed out, excuse me, in Washington, excuse me, this is Washington, DC, as Erin pointed out, they're happening all over the country and they are peaceful so far. "Justice for Tyre Nichols" it says, "Jail killer cops," some of the signs that are there and they're screaming "No justice, no peace."
In this case, so it does look like there will be justice. We hope that there is peace. I want to get now to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz as we talk about the video that has just been released by the Memphis Police Department.
And Shimon, we've been going over the pole camera video. We went over the body camera video as well. They call it the sky cam video here.
It is awful to witness the disregard, just blatant disregard for human life coming from the police officers. Speaking to the Police Chief, watching this, I know that there is going to be some change, if not for a complete overhaul, a complete at least revamping of training for officers in the city.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And the family has now called -- has called for that today, for the revamping of the police department and also that --
LEMON: Getting rid of that Scorpion unit.
PROKUPECZ: Getting rid of the Scorpion unit, that's what they want to do, and you know they may get their way.
Look, this is a unit, this anti-crime Unit and John Miller could speak to this probably better than anyone that are sometimes problematic across the country because there is this aggression.
Their job is to get out there and stop the crime before it happened.
LEMON: I want to play the video -- this is from the third body camera and then you and I can discuss. It is probably the one that is the most -- that's the hardest to watch, but it gives us an idea of what was going on. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYRE NICHOLS, VICTIM: All right, all right. I am on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the ground. On the ground. NICHOLS: On the ground. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Please.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to tase you. Get on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lie down. Lie down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to tase you.
NICHOLS: All right. Okay. All right. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just put your hands out -- back up.
NICHOLS: Okay. You guys are really doing a lot right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lie down.
NICHOLS: I am just trying to go home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, if you don't lay down.
NICHOLS: Well, I am on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your stomach.
NICHOLS: I am. Please. Stop. I am not doing anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, shit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You can see there towards the end. They are trying to tase him. But this is the initial altercation where they are not -- he is asking them, what's happening?
PROKUPECZ: That is so aggressive, right?
PROKUPECZ: Police officers now are taught de-escalate. You see no de- escalation there.
PROKUPECZ: That is a full-on escalation, for what reason? For what reason? And it goes against everything that they are taught and trained to do, and they were riled up.
They came in hot. They came in hot.
LEMON: Yes, all right. Shimon Prokupecz, standby.
We have a lot to get to tonight as we watch these protests happening all across the country.
So far, as we've been saying, they have been peaceful.
I want to bring in now Memphis City Councilman -- Council Chairman I should say, Martavius Jones.
Mr. Chairman, thank you so much. We appreciate you joining us this evening.
We are all now seeing this video for the first time that you were able to see earlier today.
Your reaction from what you saw?
MARTAVIUS JONES, MEMPHIS CITY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN: Look, Don, it is hard to watch a video where you know at the end --
LEMON: I understand your reaction, Councilman. It is hard to watch and I think what you're going to say, it's hard to watch a video where you know at the end it ended in the beating death of a young man.
It's okay, Councilman. A lot of people are feeling like you are.
Do you want to continue on or you want me to let you go?
MARTAVIUS JONES: Oh, I am sorry. I am so sorry.
LEMON: Don't apologize. Don't apologize for being a human being.
MARTAVIUS JONES: We -- Don, we have to do something. This -- not that we were immune to anything, but this wasn't supposed to happen in our community.
You know this is a traffic stop. It wasn't supposed to end like this, Don. I am so sorry.
LEMON: Have you been holding this since the beginning?
MARTAVIUS JONES: We've got to do something, don't we? You know, to think that this is my last year in office.
We have to build a better Memphis. We've got to be build a better Memphis for Mr. Nichols. We have to let his legacy, his sacrifice, the sacrifice that his mother would not have her son anymore.
We cannot let this go unaddressed. We cannot let this go unaddressed.
So, you know, I hope that -- while, I'm sure that my colleague will stay with me. We're going to have to have some tough conversations, Don.
As I've said before, if people want to make -- want to say that these were Black officers on a Black man, I go back to some words that I've said previously, it's the culture of policing that says that when you have a Black motorist, we can treat them any type of way.
You know, we just have to change the culture of policing. We have to hold people accountable. You know, I give a lot of credit to DA Mulroy. I give credit to our Police Director because we addressed and we fired those officers. We fired them very swiftly.
DA Mulroy brought the charges to these officers, so we have to address this. We have to let the legacy of Mr. Nichols be that there is going to be police reform not only here in Memphis, but in this country.
LEMON: Councilman, look, and producers, please don't turn away from this, because I think you're emoting and voicing what's so many people are facing, and especially what black people have been saying about our young people being beaten and killed by police officers. Why are you crying?
JONES: We saw a man eventually die at the hand of police. When I sat in the room today, we all knew the fate. We all knew the fate of that young man. It did not have to be that way.
LEMON: Martavius Jones, I appreciate you. You don't have to apologize for being human. A lot people -- most people are feeling what you're feeling. And I'm glad that you shared it with our audience. I really appreciate you for doing that. OK.
JONES: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Thank you. Our special coverage continues right after this.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN HOST: Welcome back. As we continue to all try to process what we have just watched with those videos out of the city of Emphasis of the death of Tyre Nichols and the horrible beating that we have all just watched.
Sanjay Gupta is back with me now. And Sanjay watched that video along with all of us. And Sanjay, also, I know you watched it, along with medical examiners around the country. So, once again, I'm going to just very specifically show the SkyCam footage, right, that's up high, watching the actual beating itself. When you watch this, Sanjay, and you watched this with people who know exactly what it means when you are kicking somebody, striking them with a baton, punching them repeatedly, what did they all see?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, we were watching this along with medical examiners, Victor Whedon (ph) and Kendall Van Crowns (ph), who's from Texas. You know, I think there's -- it's vicious. I mean, I think anybody can see that, you don't need to be a doctor or medical examiner to see that. I think the idea that there were so many blows to the head and that what happens ultimately when you have that many blows, is that the brain starts to swell, and the brain is the one organ in the body that doesn't really have any room to swell because it's encased by the skull. And as a result, somebody may slowly, increasingly lapse into unconsciousness, which seemed to be what was happening with Mr. Nichols. He was he was talking, but then sort of lapsing into unconsciousness. He was able to say that he was having challenges, he was struggling. You could see that, that was something that both pathologists noted.
But also, you know, he's very thin, and he was taking these body blows as well. May that have caused some bleeding in his abdominal cavity or even in his thoracic cavity, his chest, we don't know. But we -- one thing that we also noted was that there was just a lot of time that passed, Erin. I mean, I wrote this down, but it was around 8:33, where you see that he was still kicked once, and then he was handcuffed and brought over to the car around 8:41. So, 8 minutes later is when you first see, I think it's a fire truck EMS that's pulling up at that point. But it's not until around 9:02, so almost 30 minutes later, 29 minutes later before you see people actually show up now with medical bags and gurneys. A lot of lost time there, which is so critically important with somebody who is essentially critically ill, lying on the ground in handcuffs there with nobody attending to him.
MCLAUGHLIN: Right. And the demeanor of the officers we see at one point there, it was hard to count. I wasn't sure whether it was 8, 9, or 10 there, along with medics, and there was no urgency. There was no stress apparent from anyone. It was milling around. You know, that's what it felt like.
I want to play one other clip here. This is some of the body cam video from one of the officers when the scene where the beating was happened. So, let me just play it again for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLICE: Give me your fucking hands.
POLICE: Watch out, I'm going to baton the fuck out of you.
POLICE:: Fuck it is.
POLICE: You do. (Inaudible). Watch out.
POLICE: This is it. This is the hand. This is the hands. (Inaudible).
POLICE: Give me your fucking hands. Give me your hand. Give me your fucking hands. Give me your hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Ken Corey is with me, former NYPD Chief of Department, you were in charge of all the training. You're watching this with the eye of an expert. We're watching it just as humans, and it's horrific. What do you see? You hear them yelling, I'm going to baton the f out of you. You want to get sprayed again? Give me your effing hands, as they're raising the baton and striking?
KEN COREY, FORMER CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT AND LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING, NYPD: Yeah. So, it is horrific. And it's extremely difficult to watch. And right from the outset, I mean, the force that's used here is completely unnecessary. It's unjustifiable, it's inexcusable. And to echo what Chief CJ Davis said in Memphis, it's inhumane. Nothing that Mr. Nichols is doing requires any of that force to be applied. That clip that we just watched there with the baton, other officers are holding his arms open to allow the officer free access of baton strikes. Nobody teaches that.
MCLAUGHLIN: That's just brutality, right?
COREY: That is just plain and simple. That is a street fight and alley beat down. That's all that is.
MCLAUGHLIN: Juliette Kayyem, also with me. Of course, former Homeland Security. Juliette, there's a point where they're standing around while he's just prone talking about how this happened, swerving or just a casual conversation, as if they're just hanging out at a coffee shop.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: That's exactly right. I mean, there's almost nothing that I think we can analyze about what the situation is showing us, except for the horror that we're all feeling. And just taking a step back and maybe looking at the possibility that we get better because of this. And there is, as we heard from the city councilman, a lot of reckoning that needs to be done.
So, what I saw from the national perspective is there absolutely has to now be basically a duty to intervene. And we cannot let police departments, whatever level, different sergeant, whatever it is, that there has to be just a basic duty to intervene. I think the second is, of course, these specialized units, you know, this one is called Scorpion. It's an acronym. I have come to believe that all of these guys give these names to themselves and then they find the words that fit the acronym. What does Scorpion say to a community?
I think the third thing is, of course, the story continues tonight and into the night, and we'll all be here with you in terms of peaceful protests, these people are allowed to protest. We have to deescalate. There are people who have incentives to escalate, and that is known. But this is now a de-escalation effort throughout the nation right now. The protest is rightful. It is righteous in many ways and it continues to be peaceful and one hopes it will.
MCLAUGHLIN: Joey, let me ask you, when we talk about the milling around and the standing, and just as a half an hour goes by, as Sanjay is laying it out, so painfully, there were eight, nine people at some point. Do you expect more charges? There have only been five officers charged thus far, all, of course, with second degree murder?
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: So that's certainly possible. We heard from the prosecutor, Erin, and the prosecutor made very clear that nothing about the indictment that they've laid out would preclude either the filing of additional charges with respect to those five or, right, getting other people involved who could potentially face charges in the event that they either acted improperly or fail to act, right?
So, remember what's important here, police have a special duty, right? And in the event that someone is in distress, particularly at your hands, is it appropriate that you just sit there or stand there and do nothing to act or intervene? And so that's what the charges speak to. They speak to the lack officers actually rendering appropriate aid such that potentially could his life have been saved? We don't know. But certainly, the failure to act goes against that.
So, to your question, let's wait and see as the investigation unfolds. Last point, Erin, you know, this has been with lightning speed. We have not seen this before with regard to either, A, the firing of the police officers involved in other brutality cases or B, the indictment of police officers. It's happened very quickly. And so, I think as the investigation unfolds, I would not be surprised if others weren't embroiled and they looked at others to try.
MCLAUGHLIN: Happened very quickly. And of course, two of those who came to render aid in the fire department are on administrative leave.
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: That's right. And it's not precluded that they could be prosecuted as well. But, I mean, what you're seeing across the country, and we heard that in Washington, D.C. when went to that clip of the protesters is no justice, no peace. This is one of the instances that Joe pointed out where we're seeing justice and then hoping for peace because the wheels of justice are turning very quickly here.
MCLAUGHLIN: Right. And I should emphasize, so far, peace as everyone has called for and hoped for so far this evening. Our special coverage continues right after this.
LEMON: Welcome back everyone, to our special coverage of the release of a deadly video showing Memphis police savagely beating Tyre Nichols. I want to talk more about what we saw in that deeply disturbing video -- deeply disturbing videos which were released just last hour.
And with me now, Charles Ramsay, Laura Coates, Van Jones. Hello to all of you. Laura, I want to bring you in. This is a former federal prosecutor. I'm watching this and I know that you have been watching this. What do you see here? One of the attorneys said that this is going to be hard to prove. I'm not sure that video says that. It looks like it's pretty easy?
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the way to first think about this is what are the rights that officers have? Officers are only given the rights to stop and arrest if there is some justifiable reason to do so. Only given the authority to conduct searches and seizures or lay hands on somebody, if there is some probable cause. Only able to strike and punch and hit and assault if they are themselves under attack or trying to defend.
In this instance, this video does not show during the course of this savage beating that though any of those things were apparent or necessary. We don't see any proof that Mr. Nichols, whom we know his fate at the time, were watching this, was in any way trying to assault the officers or pose some threat of bodily harm or injury or anything that would actually cause the officers to say kill or be killed.
We also don't have any proof or any discussion whatsoever as to what started all of this. The videos all begin later on. But I tell you, as a human being, what I saw, the number of times that this young man tried to stand back up, the time that he tried to flee into an intersection just to get away from what he did not understand was even happening, he was under attack by the officers. The idea that he was restrained by officers, not able to fight back, not able to defend himself. One of the videos showed what? A five-minute segment of one officer getting his own eyes doused with water to avoid the contaminants and toxins of the spray. And yet this same man that they tried to spec for spray repeatedly, was trying to shield his own eyes. How they demanded him to show his hands.
At one point, you have officers holding his hands away from his body while they still demand that he give them his hands. One officer, and there was a moment, I have to tell you, I thought there was going to be a moment that one of the more than five officers on the scene would run to the aid and just say, stop for a moment. The one officer ran towards that scene and delivered a kick, Don, instead. I mean, we know very well this phrase of see something, say something. Officers are also supposed to add on the do something. And what we saw here was not restraint, not the fourth amendment constitutional rights that we all have. It was a beating and a killing.
LEMON: So, Charles Ramsay, I want to bring you in here because, look, if you're watching this, you're a trained police officer. You've got, you know, 5, 6, 7, 8 police officers, right? Big, burly guys, not able to restrain a wiry young man who suffers from Crohn disease.
How does that happen? What -- that is a failure of something. I don't know. I'm not a trained police officer. But how are they not able to apprehend him? How are two officers not able to apprehend this young man?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, listen, there's no justification for any of the this. I mean, it started as a traffic stop. Whether or not he committed a traffic violation, we just don't know. They start off and they're very, very aggressive with him to begin with. He's trying to cooperate, and they're the ones being the aggressors. He eventually runs away. But you have his car, you've got a license tag. You can find out who he is, if you need to be able to follow up on that. I mean, this whole thing is just something that's just totally, totally beyond anything at all that is taught in a police academy, that's procedure that's justified or what have you.
You know, I've heard a lot of calls to disband this Scorpion unit, and I don't disagree with that, but that's not going to fix the problem. This is a more systemic issue that has to be looked at. You have to look at whether or not, you know, they even screen people before bringing them into a unit. Look at their history. What kind of use of force history do they have? What's the level of supervision within that unit? How thorough do they really investigate complaints against these individuals? You can disband the unit, but the problem is not going to go away because it's a lot deeper than that.
LEMON: Well, I think that's what --
RAMSEY: And they need to take a real deep dive into this.
LEMON: I think the Memphis Police Department admitting that today, giving the statement saying it's really not the unit. They need these types of units. It's just the training, and they need better officers.
CNN's Van Jones with me now. Van, listen, I think Martavius Jones spoke for all of us, and you never know when those moments are going to come. He had his on CNN. He did not have to apologize for being human, but I think he spoke for a lot of people around the country?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He certainly did, and it was powerful. My father's from Memphis. I spent my summers in Memphis, and so my heart goes out to that community. One of the things that Laura was about to talk about, I think so important, is the role of pepper spray. We haven't talked about that. We've talked about the beating. But don't forget, they were spraying pepper spray into this man's face repeatedly. Pepper spray is a bear repellent. The ingredient is called capsaicin. It's the same thing in hot chili. Imagine taking a hot chili, rub it on your eyeball, multiply that times 100, that's what they were doing to him. The cops couldn't even stand the reaction they were having to the pepper spray. Just getting glances of it. So, you're pepper spraying someone, torturing them and then, of course, you're going to put your hands like this and then they're brutalizing him for not complying. In other words, they are escalating with their voices, they're escalating with the pepper spray and then punishing him for the human response he was having to being tortured to death.
LEMON: Yeah. Listen, the -- it's either fight or flight, right. And I think he was trying to run away as a natural instinct. He wasn't complying in the sense that they wanted to comply. But for a traffic stop, it certainly did not have to end this way.
Thank you, Van. Thank you, Laura. Thank you, Chief Ramsey. Our special coverage continues next. We're going to speak to the attorney representing the family of Tyre Nichols, that's right after this. Don't go anywhere, as we look at protests happening around the country.
MCLAUGHLIN: Welcome back. And joining me now Antonio Romanucci. He is the attorney for Tyre Nichols' family.
And Tony, we have now all seen the horror and brutality of this video that you would warned us about, when we spoke earlier this week. You know, we've now all heard Tyre calling mom, mom, mom, and then that sort of crying and agony. And we all now know that his mother was literally hundreds of feet away that he did almost make it to her. I know you had a chance to speak to them right before this came out. How do they feel about this, that the whole world now can see this?
ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, TYRE NICHOLS' FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, they are pleased that the video came out this quickly, Erin. You know, we knew that this accountability and the transparency of this video was so important, and that they are very grateful for. Of course, they lost the son. You know, they lost, you know, somebody that they love very much, but they are grateful that the video came out. So now the whole world knows what happened, that he was defenseless, that he was helpless, that we did not exaggerate or overestimate anything that was in that video whatsoever.
MCLAUGHLIN: Tony watching from the still and silent SkyCam was incredibly powerful and horrible to see because you saw it without the sound, you're forced to actually internalize what it was we were looking at. We see all of that. We hear him screaming, we see the running. All of this is now documented. In the first video, we see the officers approach his car with guns immediately drawn. And then in later body cam video, we hear them discussing what they say happened before, what caused this traffic stop. They say they saw him driving on to oncoming traffic. That is the part of course we don't see. We don't see anything that happened before that first officer with the body cam drives up to an already ongoing traffic scene where they were already, as you told me, hyped up the ones who were there. And we certainly saw that. Have you learned anything more about what happened before that moment?
ROMANUCCI: We have not learned anything at all about that, Erin. And the more and more that this goes on. I have more and more doubts that there was any issue of reckless driving whatsoever. I think it was a narrative. I think it was a justification for the stop. Just as they pleaded on some of the video that you saw in the second encounter that they were saying, did you see him reach for my gun? That never happened? Those are all excuses. Those are all lane defenses. And just a reason for what they did, which is now we know has no basis at all.
MCLAUGHLIN: In many of these videos, we see 8, 9, 10 people milling around, they're milling around while Tyre is lying, prone on the ground. Five have been charged with second degree murder. Do you anticipate more charges?
ROMANUCCI: I do anticipate more charges. I'm not going to say what the state's attorney is going to do. But I will say that in that room that was absolutely discussed. It has not been ruled out. I can't guess what they're going to do. But is there any question that more charges should be brought? In my opinion, in this person's opinion, there is no doubt that failure to intervene, that failure to render medical aid to assist a dying person is unconscionable. There is no doubt that further charges should be brought in my opinion. MCLAUGHLIN: And Tony, before you go, President Biden, I know, spoke to the family today. Can you tell us more about that?
ROMANUCCI: He was very -- I mean, he was as empathetic as he could be. He expressed sorrow. He expressed concern and we want to continue knew the conversation that we've been having with this President for the last 18 months. We want to continue this fight, this discussion in Washington. And hope that we hope that we can get more uniform national army, Erin.
MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, thank you very much. I appreciate your taking the time to join me again tonight.
ROMANUCCI: Thank you, Erin. Good night.
MCLAUGHLIN: Good night. And thanks very much to all of you. Our breaking news coverage will continue now with this special edition of AC 360 now, John Berman will be joining you along with Don Lemon.