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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Memphis Releases Deadly Police Beating Video; Video Appears To Show Nichols Hit By Police At Least Nine Times In Under Four Minutes; One-On-One With Nichols' Family Attorney. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 27, 2023 - 21:00   ET



ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, TYRE NICHOLS' FAMILY ATTORNEY: We want to continue this fight, this discussion, in Washington, and hope that we can get more uniform national reform, Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN CO-HOST: Tony, thank you very much. I appreciate your taking the time, to join me, again tonight.

ROMANUCCI: Thank you, Erin. Good night.

BURNETT: Good night.

And thanks very much to all of you.

Our Breaking News coverage will continue now, with this special edition of AC360.

Now, John Berman, will be joining you, along with Don Lemon.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-HOST: It is hard to say good evening tonight, having seen the video footage, authorities in Memphis, made public, just a short time ago.

I'm John Berman, here in New York.

DON LEMON, CNN CO-HOST: And, in Memphis, I'm Don Lemon. We appreciate you joining us, for our special coverage.

Today, Tyre Nichols' mom asked me a very simple question, about her son's deadly encounter, with Police, three weeks ago, this weekend, as a matter of fact. That question was, "Where was the humanity?"

Three days later, her son would be dead, from the beating he'd received.

10 days after that? Five cops, members of a specialized, now deactivated so-called SCORPION Unit, were fired.

Yesterday, all five, were charged, with murder.

And now, we have video, of what they did, John.

BERMAN: And this video comes from a variety of sources, body cams, a pole-mounted surveillance camera.

Now, we're not going to show any of it lightly. And truth though, there is no amount of editing that can conceal the nature, of what you are about to see. And there are many good reasons, accountability being just one of them, why it should be seen.

Throughout our coverage, tonight, we are going to have a team of experts, to give perspective.

That said, please, understand this is difficult to watch, and something you might not want your children to see.

LEMON: Right on, it is hard to watch, because you're seeing a young man, being beaten to death, in real-time, by officers, who took an oath, they were supposed to serve their community, and protect the people in it. That did not happen.

The first video that you're going to see, silent at first, and then with sound, is from the body cam, of an officer, arriving at the already in-progress traffic stop. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down, Motherfucker (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down, Motherfucker (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't get to blow the fuck off (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the fuck out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the fuck out the fucking car.

TYRE NICHOLS, VICTIM: Damn, I didn't do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you oh didn't do fucking anything (ph).

NICHOLS: Hey, I didn't do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn your ass ground.

NICHOLS: All right, all right, all right, all right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the ground, on the ground, on the ground.

NICHOLS: All right, all right, all right.



NICHOLS: Hey! You don't -- you don't do that, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the fucking ground! NICHOLS: All right, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to tase your ass!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tase him! Tase him! Tase him!

NICHOLS: All right, all right, all right, I'm on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now. Right now.

NICHOLS: On the ground, yes, sir.


NICHOLS: Please--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'll tase you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground!




NICHOLS: OK, OK, stop.


NICHOLS: Stop! All right, OK, all right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn to the other side, or I'll break your teeth (ph).

NICHOLS: OK, dude, damn!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn the fuck around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your fucking hands--

NICHOLS: I didn't do anything--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please put your hands behind your back pocket.

NICHOLS: OK, cool down (ph), all right. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to knock your ass the fuck out.

NICHOLS: OK. You guys are really doing a lot, right now. Come on!


NICHOLS: I'm just, sir, I want to go home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, if you don't lay down?

NICHOLS: Well I am on the ground!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands behind--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your stomach!

NICHOLS: I am, please!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can explain. I'll explain.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get the foot man (ph).

NICHOLS: Stop! I didn't do anything.


NICHOLS: Come on (ph)!




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're running on foot (ph). Yes, we're running (inaudible).


LEMON: As we said, it is difficult to watch.

And John, what is so inexplicable here is why, when the officers rolled up, it looks like they did not try to de-escalate the situation. It looks like they were hyped up, from the very beginning.

And the young man was asking them, "What are you guys doing? Why are you stopping me? You guys are doing a lot." And they had no answers, for him, except to throw him on the ground, and start using expletives, and really beating him.

BERMAN: What is notable is when you watch it, objectively, and we've all just seen it now, a few times, it appears that Tyre Nichols is the most calm person, there, talking, at all.

LEMON: Right, yes.

BERMAN: He's the one saying "All right, all right, all right."

It is the officers, it seems, who have their voices raised.

He seems to be trying to de-escalate and, in some cases, maybe, and again, we don't fully know all, the context around it, the only one trying to de-escalate that.

We're going to have much more, on the significance, of that bizarre duality, there, in a little bit, Don.


The next piece of video is at the second scene. It was taken from that surveillance camera that was mounted overhead. And it does show the worst of the beating, Tyre Nichols being struck with a baton, kicked in the head and, repeatedly, sucker-punched, in the head and face.

Now, this video is silent. We want you all to watch this. There's really nothing more to be said about it. Here it is.




BERMAN: Again, you watch that clip, right there, about four minutes long, and we counted at least nine punches, or kicks, with fists, and also the baton. And, as you're watching it, you don't see Tyre Nichols, fighting back. You don't see him doing almost anything.

And you're left with a question, Don, "What on earth is going on here?" Why?


BERMAN: Why is it necessary to use that kind of force?

LEMON: Yes. It looks personal. I mean, it feels, when you look at it, it looks personal. I'm not sure if they had a prior relationship with Tyre Nichols, or if they're embarrassed because he got away from them, and they're the ones, who're supposedly trained for this.

But, I mean, if you look at the first officer, who just kicks him, it looks like a brawl, at a sporting event, from drunk-people, who had been watching a game. That's the kind of thing that you see. And then, you see them pull out that retractable baton that's called an ASP, ASP baton, and they continue to hit him with it.

And then, he's handcuffed, John. He's not moving. He can't move. And then, he lays, on the ground, and for minutes, minutes, minutes, you'll see, later on, nobody is rendering help. No one is showing up, for a very long time.


This last clip that you're going to see, right now, is the aftermath, in which Tyre Nichols, badly beaten, receiving what appears to be minimal care, he lies there on the ground, while officers talk amongst themselves, about what they've just done.

Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still wonder, man (ph).



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm talking about--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was with him (ph)--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I've seen him, wondering, man really bro is fast and (ph) running, so I got him right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes he (inaudible) but he just took out running.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) traffic stop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he did stop him in a traffic stop (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we're talking--


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Oh, that's something (ph) so we try to get him to stop. He didn't stop. We stood -- then I tried to get him to stop. Hear the siren, "Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!" Then he (ph) drove around, swear length (ph), and hit my car. So, then, I'm like "God damn!" Well we don't -- he pulled up to the red light, stop at the red light, put his turn signal on. So, we jump out the car. He went from there. He got the--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I'll show him (ph).



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got my seat in my plate (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, we'll use that bro. We'll use this man. We'll use it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who took it (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm trying to see there (ph), bro.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) allowed an ambulance. We got an ambulance (inaudible).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) you see my glass (ph), bro?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm trying to find it (ph). And let's just (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's his name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mills (ph) got it.



BERMAN: This disarmingly casual conversation, as a man lies on the ground, a man we now know, who will ultimately die, from what just happened there, Don? And this goes on and on, this period of time goes on and on, for countless minutes.

And ultimately, when this does get into a courtroom, these officers, or former officers, will have to answer, for what they didn't do, during this period, Don.

LEMON: If you listen to the conversation, John, and the language? One, it appears they're trying to make excuses. Sure, they realize that they're being recorded, like, "Hey, yes, this happened. And he did that. And he tried to take my gun, and he tried to do all of these things," it sounds like they're sort of making excuses, for when someone reviews this camera footage.

But also, as I said earlier, on CNN, on the air, it almost sounds like they're, in the barbershop, right, or if they're, like hanging out after a club, like, "Hey, man, you know, you saw that guy was running, he was doing," it does not sound like professionally-trained officers at all.

I want to bring in my next guest, and talk to him about that.

John, back to you, in a moment.

Mickell Lowery is the Shelby County Commission Chairman, and he joins us now. Thank you so much, for joining us.

You saw the video before it was released?


LEMON: You were watching this video, along with me that we were playing. And you said this, we're the same sentiment, "It seems like it's personal." What's up?

LOWERY: It's unfortunate. It appears personal. It appears that egos are involved.

What we know is that Tyre Nichols posed no threat. What we know is that Tyre Nichols was unarmed. There is no reason for those savage beating to continue to happen over and over and over again.

And then to see some of our police officers, who are supposed to protect and serve, stand around, smile, make excuses, as to why this was done? It's terrible. It's horrendous. But we're going to get through this.

LEMON: OK, so, but then, why this failure, then? This is supposed to be a highly specialized trained unit, this SCORPION Unit. What happened?

LOWERY: Those officers failed us. The unit didn't fail us. The overall police department didn't fail us. Those officers failed us.

I've talked to several officers today, who told me, how embarrassed, they are, from this. This does not represent Memphis. It doesn't represent our law enforcement.

But those officers failed us, and they should be punished. And then, we are thankful that they were, number one, fired, and prosecuted.

LEMON: Do you think it was right to -- the way this was rolled out that? The charges first, for the officers?

I spoke to the Police Commissioner. She said, "I spoke with the family first. They're OK with the charges. They wanted first-degree murder. They got second-degree murder." And then, releasing the video, today.

Do you do you think that was a right move?


LOWERY: I think it was the right move. I think, unfortunately, you see Memphis be a model for this. These officers were promptly fired. We usually don't see that in the past. These officers were prosecuted, expeditiously. And then, with the family's blessing, the videos, was released.

So, we can't now talk about what will happen to those officers. We know. We know what's going to happen, and we look forward to their day in court. LEMON: As you look at the screen, right now, you see those five officers. They're all Black men.

I spoke to the mom this morning.

Go on. You're, you're shaking your head.

LOWERY: It's troubling. Look, police brutality by any race is troubling. But as a African American male, as a citizen, to see that five Black men had no regard for Tyre Nichols' life, no regard for what could possibly happen to him?

And then, quite frankly, Don, I have to be honest, to see the Black officers do that? It hurts anytime officers do it. But this is gut- wrenching. We're a proud community, and you hate to see that.

LEMON: She said, "They embarrassed themselves. They embarrassed the Black community."

LOWERY: Without a doubt. They definitely did embarrass themselves. And they embarrassed their family. I feel sorry for their family, because their family is going to have to -- and family is going to have to want justice, but at the same time feel so sorry that they're -- a member of their family is going to be in jail.

They embarrassed their family. They embarrassed Memphis. They embarrassed the community. They embarrassed law enforcement. But that we're going to -- we're a proud city.


LOWERY: We're a proud city.

LEMON: I couldn't -- I was -- maybe I shouldn't have been stunned, or shocked, when the mom said, "I feel sorry for those officers." She goes, "I don't hate anybody."

LOWERY: Don, there's nothing like a mother's love!


LOWERY: There's nothing like a mother's love! And so, what you saw there was a strong -- that's courage from God! Because, I have children, and I don't know if I could be that strong to say that, if that would have been my child.

LEMON: What do you think should happen?

LOWERY: Those officers, they had been prosecuted. They should spend a long time in jail.

And what we should do, as a city, is lead in reform. Tyre Nichols' name should live on. Every officer, every law enforcement officer should have to watch that video, periodically, as part of training. We should lead from that. We should be resilient from that, and make sure that this does not happen again. Hopefully never, and I see, hopefully nowhere else, in our country.

LEMON: Mickell Lowery, thank you.

LOWERY: Yes, thank you.

LEMON: I appreciate you joining us, and I appreciate your candor.

LOWERY: Thank you.

LEMON: Thanks so much.

John, that's the sentiment, from here, in Memphis, we've been hearing from so many people.

And listen, I think, it is important to point out that tonight, as we're talking about this, as we're talking about the City of Memphis, all across the country, there are protests. So far, those protests appear to be peaceful. And we hope that continues.

BERMAN: Yes, there is anger. But I think more than anything right now there's just grief and bewilderment, Don, as people watch this, and seek some kind of answer.


BERMAN: We'll come back to you, there. And you've done such a great job, I think, capturing the mood, on the ground, and telling the story of the people, really hurt by this, Don. So, we'll be back to you, in just a second.

Perspective now, from our Legal and Law Enforcement panels.

CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst, John Miller, former NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism.

CNN Legal Analyst, and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson.

CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, Charles Ramsey, former D.C. and Philadelphia top cop. He's now a consultant to police departments, around the country.

Also, CNN Anchor, and former federal prosecutor, Laura Coates.

Chief Ramsey, I just want to start with you.

As a human being, and someone who has run police departments, just your initial reaction to everything we now have just seen?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER & FORMER D.C. POLICE CHIEF, CO- FOUNDER, 21CP SOLUTIONS: Well, I mean, I was horrified, like everybody else. I've been in policing, since 1968. And this is one of the worst cases that I have seen. I mean, this is bad beyond belief.

And I was so -- actually, I was glad to hear that your last guest, Commissioner Lowery, just, mention the fact that this affects the good police officers, just as much. Because, they're sitting there, horrified. They know, when they hit the street, the next day, people are going to be looking at them, as if they do the same thing that these five guys did.

I mean, those five, were not police officers. They were thugs! I mean, their actions were no better than some street gang that was actually beating somebody down, on the street. I mean, I just, it's absolutely horrible.

And people believe these units get created because of spikes in crime.


You can police constitutionally, and reduce crime, at the same time. You don't have to do this. You don't have to do anything like this. From their actions, to the language, they escalated everything, right off the bat. I mean this was totally, totally unnecessary, without any justification at all.

BERMAN: And when Chief Ramsey says, "They didn't have to do this?" This is a lot! We now have seen a lot of videos. So, this includes several things, for which now there are serious questions.

John Miller, just one of the things is that four-minute period, where these officers appear to punch, and kick, and strike, Tyre Nichols, with a baton.

And I mentioned before, when you're watching this, for the first time, you're left with the question "What on earth is going on here?" It's not the beginning of the altercation. He appears not to be fighting back at all!

What did you see there?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST, FORMER NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF INTELLIGENCE & COUNTERTERRORISM: Well, I mean, what you see is officers, who are excited, some of them are worn down, and out of breath. They all appear to be angry, as opposed to having some kind of detachment, which would say, "OK, let's get this individual in handcuffs, and sort out why we're here."

But even if you go back to the beginning, John, they're screaming and cursing, to pull him out of the car.

And his words are, "OK, OK, I'm getting on the ground."

And, one of them says, "I'm going to spray you," and the other says, "I'm going to tase you."

And he says, "You guys are really doing a lot right now." I mean, he's trying to calm them down.

When he runs away, and then they get to that second location, that's where you see that anger is increased, "You made us chase you," so on and so forth. And there's some telling moments there. You see a police officer, as Don mentioned, with the collapsible

baton, the ASP. You flick it out, it extends. He goes and gets two or three strikes in. And then you see him walk away.

Well, if the incident is still out of control, if they're in some life-and-death struggle, and he has to strike someone, why is he walking away? This is an example of somebody who is excited and angry, who wants to get his licks in.

This, when you look at arrest and control tactics, and training? And I've been through the training myself. This isn't the training.

BERMAN: No! I mean?

MILLER: You've got -- you've got eight -- you've got five to eight cops, who can't control one individual enough to get them handcuffed, whether he's resisting or not.

BERMAN: Yes. And we keep calling it a struggle. At this point, it doesn't appear to be much of a struggle at all. It appears to be one man, who can't -- can barely stand up, for himself, or is on the ground, just being punched, and kicked, and hit with a baton.

Joey Jackson, from a moral perspective, and from a human perspective, you -- one can watch this, and be aghast, and say, "This is outrageous." There are the legal questions here, though, in what can be proven in a court of law. The steepest charge is second-degree murder, which means what, a knowing killing?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, that's correct. So, all you say is right. There's the legal point, which I'll get to. But I think we have to think about a jury. And those jurors? Are they fathers? Are they mothers? They're people of the community.

When I watch this, John, I should tell you, I watch it as a father, before a lawyer. I watch it as a person, who thinks that we, as a society, can do better, and need to do better, before I watch it, as a lawyer. And so, I think that jurors are going to be, if it gets that far, evaluating it, in the same respect.

And so, in speaking with the law, I think, there's a lot to answer to. I think jurors, again, looking at the view of the law, and ultimately what it will come to, are going to ask a lot of questions, right, in terms of thinking about that second-degree murder charge, which I'll explain.

When you got to the car? Now, John Miller pointed out very rightly, right, what was said by Mr. Nichols.

Did you see what the police officers said, in contrast to what Mr. Nichols said? "F-bombs," and this and that, and "Get out?"

Is that the way that you should be comporting yourself with respect to interpersonal communication, in the event that you're going to engage in conduct as an officer, and you're going to actually use force? Is there an immediate threat that anyone sees that it's posed to the officers?

If you look at the officers' conduct, John, is the conduct that the officers engage in proportionate to what Mr. Nichols is doing? Can we really say that they acted reasonably?

And then, finally, with respect to their failure to do anything, but stand around and, as Don Lemon said, make excuses? It's deplorable.

So, the last point, when jurors are evaluating, again, if it gets that far, the issue of first degree, second degree? There's not a first degree, we know that, because that would require a proof of premeditation.

The prosecutor opted to prove a knowing killing. What does that mean? It means that you have to know, and appreciate, right, the nature of what you did could lead to what is a death here.

We saw on that video, deplorably, strikes to the head, kicks to the head, the ASP being used, all other types of brutality? I think that certainly would mean you appreciate your actions. That's second-degree murder. That's reckless. It's depraved. And I think that's why the prosecution charged it.


BERMAN: Laura Coates is with us. And, I know, Laura, you will be covering this, quite a bit, tonight, as well.

One of the questions that I've seen a lot, and I know you've seen as well is people say "These officers are doing this, and they know they're being filmed, while they're doing this." What does that tell you about their mindset?

LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it tells you how emboldened the culture of policing has allowed people to become, the idea that you could possibly escape, any accountability, and the idea of doing it, in front of a camera, knowing that and thinking that you might not be held to account.

But let's just be clear, and take a step back, for a second. Other cameras that, we've seen, other moments that have caused us to be, on a heightened level of awareness? This would not have happened, the immediate firing of these officers, but for what happened, over an eight-minute period, in the killing of George Floyd. And we could name many in between that, Breonna Taylor and beyond.

And why is that? Because Memphis, about a month after, the killing of George Floyd, changed their policies, to have an affirmative obligation, to intervene, an affirmative obligation, to do precisely what the officers charged, in that case, the more rookie cops, compared to Derek Chauvin, chose not to do, which was to intervene in some meaningful way.

There's really a clear delineation, here, between when they were officers of law, and when they were a members of essentially a gang that decided that they were going to move by perhaps bravado, perhaps by ego, in some other way, to punish.

And what's so striking? And Joey's so right. I mean, I am a mother of a little boy, who calls my name, and calls out for me, so often that that it is so ingrained in me, to respond, to have almost a Pavlovian reflex, at the thought that he might need me.

To think that 80 yards away, somebody's son was calling out until, presumably, he was no longer able to speak? Maybe his jaw had been injured in some way? He was not communicating, the same degree. To think of what his mother is going through, in the proximity of that moment?

And this man, Tyre Nichols, died, never knowing the answer to the first question he asked the officers. "What did I do?" And we still don't know!

BERMAN: It is heartbreaking, and just raises still more questions. We're going to get to all of them, tonight. Standby everyone.

Nichols' family attorney, Benjamin Crump, joins Don, next.

And shortly, Memphis City Councilwoman, Patrice Robinson.



LEMON: So, we want to talk more, about what we have seen, on those really awful videos, of the deadly police beating, of Tyre Nichols, which came out just about two and a half hours ago.

And about the reaction, here, in Memphis, our Shimon Prokupecz is here, with more on that.

Shimon, let's talk about what these officers are charged with. If you look at the video, I mean, they charged them immediately.


LEMON: And I think this video speaks to that. We got a warning of that. But second-degree murder, kidnapping?

PROKUPECZ: Kidnapping, right.


PROKUPECZ: The kidnapping, the second-degree murder, and then the official misconduct. And you look at this video, and you can see why the D.A. and the Police Chief here went right for those charges, and firing those officers.

The other thing that's really interesting, there are more officers there. And the Police Chief has indicated that those officers are under investigation that we could see more charges, whether administrative charges, or criminal charges, even the D.A. has said that's a possibility here for others. The other thing for me, I think, in watching all of this, is so much of what -- how we are watching it again, another failure, by people, who are supposed to protect us, supposed to save us. And you look at those EMTs, and they just do nothing, for such a long stretch of time. And it takes them so long to finally take him to the hospital.

I don't know -- that part for me? Any hope for Tyre Nichols to survive?


PROKUPECZ: To live that day? They were the ones perhaps. And yet again, we have another instance, here, of people, in a position, to help someone, who was in need of help?

LEMON: And they didn't help.

PROKUPECZ: They didn't do it.

LEMON: But by the time, the EMTs get there, the officers, on the scene, were supposed -- they had a duty of care.

PROKUPECZ: Other officers too, but.

LEMON: The EMTs have -- but, listen, this is a specialized, highly specialized unit--


LEMON: --which is under scrutiny, right now. And you have some reporting, on this?

PROKUPECZ: Right. The SCORPION Unit, this is this anti-crime unit. We see them. They're in unmarked cars. You know they're police. But they're driving around in cars that are unmarked.

But what this unit, they are aggressive. They are here, in Memphis. They were put together, to stop crime, fight crime, before it happens, not respond to the radio, saying, "Oh, this crime is occurring." They are in place to try and prevent crime.

And so, for that reason, they have an aggressive posture, and they go after people, they believe, are committing crimes. And you see just how aggressive they were, in the opening moments, of the video that were released.

That unit, right now, is not operating here, in the City of Memphis.

LEMON: Right.

PROKUPECZ: The Mayor announced that they've been inactive, since this incident. The family is calling for them to end that unit.


PROKUPECZ: Disband that unit. LEMON: Well, when I spoke to the Police Department, earlier, they said that they will be in review -- "There will be a review of all specialized units. Currently, the SCORPION Unit is inactivated, during this review process. But it is not been disbanded," they say.


LEMON: You have to remember that--

PROKUPECZ: But that's what the family wants. The family wants it disbanded.

LEMON: I don't think it's going to be disbanded.

PROKUPECZ: Well we'll see.

LEMON: I think this is--

PROKUPECZ: This has happened before.

LEMON: They said, "You have to remember that we have about 10 specialized units at work, similar to the SCORPION Unit. It is not the unit. They're necessary. In this case, it is the officers, who, by chance, were assigned to the SCORPION Units."

PROKUPECZ: These units have been controversial, Don.

LEMON: They think it's the failure of the officers, not the unit.

PROKUPECZ: I know we -- just give me a second here. In that -- in the sense that there was a street crime unit, in the New York State, you remember, Amadou Diallo?

LEMON: Yes, I remember it.

PROKUPECZ: When they stopped him? That was -- that's what this kind of unit was. And so, it was disbanded, eventually. Then, it comes back. They put them under different names.

It could happen. And the families are calling for that. And other people, who want to see more police reform, are saying, "We need to end these units."


PROKUPECZ: So, we'll see.

LEMON: So, we'll see.


LEMON: There will be changes. There have to be changes.


LEMON: After this. Shimon, thank you. Standby.

Shimon has been covering this, from the very beginning.

I want to bring in now, Benjamin Crump, one of the attorneys, for the Nichols' family.


Ben Crump, hello to you, sir. I was with you this morning, with the family. I'm so glad that you could join us, and help us, get through what we're seeing here.

Why was it important, for the family, for the public, to see this video, despite how devastating it must be, emotionally, for them?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR TYRE NICHOLS' FAMILY: Well, Don Lemon, that was a very powerful interview, this morning. And thank you for helping here on the family side, and them have a voice, and their truth about this tragedy.

And it is tragic. I was just talking with Tyre's mother, father. And she is just so disturbed, hearing about it, you know? But she felt it was necessary that people needed to see the video, even if she couldn't see the video, because people need to see how and why her son was killed.

And what everybody has said, Don, now (ph) is has now seen this video, is not only how gruesome it is, how heinous it is, how all of it is, and you could go all through the alphabet with the adjectives. And then, you get to the end, and how unnecessary this was that Tyre Nichols was killed in this manner!

LEMON: Ben, you -- I'm having a little bit of trouble hearing you. I don't know if you can get a little bit closer to the computer or -- I don't know, if there's an air conditioning, or something on.

But I just want to know, how do you feel so far, with the action that has been taken, the charges of these officers? Second-degree murder? The family had wanted first-degree murder. And the speed with which this all was handled, and the video, rolling out?

CRUMP: Don, I'm putting on the earpiece.

LEMON: Yes, take your time. That's OK.

CRUMP: You hear now? OK

LEMON: They said -- they said it's fine on air, that they can hear you.


LEMON: That's better, though.

CRUMP: Well, so, Don, hopefully you hear what I said about how heinous it was. But the family, and everybody, has said how unnecessary this was, the actions of those officers that killed this unarmed young Black man. And so, that's what they're dealing with.

They're also, as the family, talking about Tyre's family, when they were watching the video, and then I started getting hit up, on my phone, and social media about "Hey, there are other officers here, who need to be charged," and they asked questions about a White officer, who they said tased him, in the beginning, and why wasn't he charged? So, it's a lot more questions that needs to be answered, after this video has been made public.

And you can ask your other question, again. I wanted to say that on behalf of Tyre's family.

LEMON: OK. So, got you, thank you. And I appreciate you putting in the earpiece.

So what do you think of the way this was rolled out? The charges? The officers, then being apprehended? The speed, with which, this was handled? And then, the rolling out, of the video?

CRUMP: Don, let me first address the charge that's been issued. Because when you think about how swiftly they terminated these officers, and how swiftly, the District Attorney, in less than 20 days, charged these five Black officers, for the crimes that they committed that were captured on video? It told us there, clearly, as the Chief said, the community needed to see action taken swiftly, and the community needed to see swift approach to justice.

Well, this is now the blueprint, Don Lemon. And for all these other police forces, around the country, if they catch police, committing crimes, on video, whether they're White or Black, this is the blueprint.

Because think about it, Don Lemon. Laquan McDonald, in Chicago, they had that video, day one. The White officers, they said, they had to investigate, for over a year.

Then, you think about Eric Garner, in New York City. They still didn't do anything on that one.

Alton Sterling, oh and Louisiana, your home state? That was on video. They didn't do anything on that.

So now, they can't tell us it takes this long to investigate, because when those five Black officers here, in Memphis, Tennessee, were caught, killing Tyre Nichols, they moved swiftly. And we want it to be swift action, on any police officer, whether White or Black, who kill our people.


LEMON: Benjamin Crump, thank you, for appearing. I know it's been a long day for you. And I hope the mother and the dad are at least getting some rest, right now. We appreciate you. Thanks a lot.

CRUMP: Thank you. And thank you for the interview, this morning, Don.

LEMON: Thank you.

I want to go quickly now, back to Shimon Prokupecz. He has some Breaking News for us.


LEMON: What do you have, Shimon?

PROKUPECZ: Yes, Don. So, we're just getting word, there's more fallout now, in connection to this investigation. Two sheriff's deputies have been placed on leave, according to a statement, from the Shelby County Sheriff, here, Sheriff Bonner.

He's just issued a statement saying that he watched the videotape, for the first time, tonight, and that he has two concerns, about two deputies, who appeared, on the scene, following the physical confrontation, between police and Tyre Nichols.

He says he's launched an internal investigation, for their conduct. And that now they have been placed, on leave, to determine whether or not policies were violated. Both of the deputies have been relieved of duty, and they're now on administrative leave, which is paid leave.

So, this is certainly significant, and that we are now seeing more fallout, in connection with what happened here. The question, I certainly have is why is this the first time this Sheriff is viewing this video? And I guess, right now, we don't have that answer.


PROKUPECZ: But here we go again. Two more sheriff's deputies, now, two more law enforcement--

LEMON: Right.

PROKUPECZ: -- personnel, officials who are on--

LEMON: This is--

PROKUPECZ: --put on leave.

LEMON: This is beyond the Memphis Police Department. This is the Shelby--

PROKUPECZ: This is the Sheriff. This is the Shelby County Sheriff.

LEMON: --Shelby County Sheriff's.

PROKUPECZ: So, questions there obviously about what they were doing there, when they got there? So, this is now growing, right?


PROKUPECZ: And this is going to continue to grow, I assume. LEMON: And the D.A. said, at the press conference that it had the possibility of doing that. And the charges had to pass -- they had the possibility of amending those charges.


LEMON: Shimon, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

We're going to take a very quick break here. And then, we're going to come back with more, of what we're seeing here, in Memphis, and more reaction, and analysis, of those videos, showing the violent beating death, of Tyre Nichols. We're back with our special coverage, AC360, here on CNN.



LEMON: We're back now live, from Memphis, where protesters are out, tonight, in full force. Some are on the I-55 Bridge, over the Mississippi.

CNN's Sara Sidner is there for us.

Sara, what are you seeing?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing an absolute standstill. If you look behind me, you see all these trucks, down here. That is behind me. The I-55 Bridge, southbound and northbound, northbound towards St. Louis, southbound towards Jackson, Mississippi. There is a huge section of I-55, the bridge included that has just been stopped, for quite some time.

I want to give you a sense of what it looks like and where I am. This is Exit 12b, and apropos of what's happening, the National Civil Rights Museum is off of that exit. As you know, this was the place where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, here, in Memphis.

But what you are seeing is what protesters here call, resistance. They have been peaceful with their resistance. They are here. You can see the signs there. There's Crump Boulevard. Not Mr. Crump that you just spoke with. But that's the name of the boulevard there. That exit is 12a. You can see the I-55 South, to Jackson, Mississippi sign, to give you some sense of exactly where we are.

Downtown Memphis is not far. And what we are seeing is people, who have, on both sides, of I-55, just stopped traffic. They have stopped traffic. They are holding signs, "Justice for Tyre." They are holding signs that "Police who murder must be put in prison," they must face justice.

And the crowd is here. There are emotions that are high. But they have been nothing less than peaceful. They have just stopped the traffic flow. And part of that is because they want people to see that disruption is part of the way they're going to protest, because they are feeling pain. And they want people to understand how serious they are, about all of what they saw, on that videotape.

So, that's where we are, right now, Don. It's been shut down, for a while.

I will tell you this. I'm going to pull myself, away from the crowd, just a tad. I will tell you this. We have heard one person--


SIDNER: You're hearing them chant something that we have heard, across the country, from Michael Brown, to George Floyd, to Freddie Gray; "Who's Streets? Our Streets!" That is what they're chanting, because they feel like these are their streets. They are taxpayers too. And there is no reason why these five officers, should have been involved, in taking the life, of a resident, here, in Memphis.

We don't know how long they'll be here. But they are chanting "No justice! No peace!" something we have heard for many, many decades, here.

And honestly, the Police are on either side. They have stopped traffic, and have been telling people to go around.

There was concern, from one person, one motorist that was frustrated, saying that "There is a medical emergency. I hope you guys are going to be willing to open this up, because you don't want another person to lose their life, because of this."

But for right now, it is shut down, both ways I-55, here, at Exit 12a.


LEMON: All right, Sara Sidner, out, and protests on I-55, right now, in the City of Memphis, very pivotal when it comes to the civil rights movement, and perhaps now it'd be pivotal, when it comes to police reform.

Back, with our special coverage, on AC360, on CNN, in just moments. Don't go anywhere.



BERMAN: A very difficult night, in Memphis, and across the country, with the release of the video, showing the beating of Tyre Nichols, by Memphis police officers.

Back with us now, Laura Coates.

Laura, one question that's come up here, is there are five officers, who have been charged with a number of counts, including second-degree murder. But now that we've seen the video, we see there were a lot of other people, officers, law enforcement, standing around there as well. So, from a legal perspective, what do you think it took to be one of

those five, as opposed to the others, who at least, as of now, have not been charged?

COATES: You're right. Many of us were sort of counting and watching the video and saying, "Well wait, there's five, there's six, there's seven, there's eight, there's people, who are surrounding," someone who's going home, wishing the officers well, at one point in time.

I think what the prosecutors may have been looking at was those that had the direct involvement, in the physical assaults, would have been aware about his deteriorating condition, and would have acted in spite of it.

You see, they've charged them with knowing killing, knowing killing, which means that they had to believe, and appreciate that the actions that they were taking, might lead to somebody's death, or certainly grave bodily harm.

And so, focusing on the officers, who are restraining the individual, Mr. Nichols, focusing on the officers, who were delivering the blows, who were delivering the baton beatings, and beyond, and would have been aware of the deterioration, from start to finish, is likely the focus.

Also, you may have heard the officers, John, at different points, communicating with people, communicating with either the paramedics, or beyond, or talking amongst themselves, I suspect, because they were aware they were being filmed--


COATES: --and there was body cam footage, talking about whether he, in fact, was high on something, they kept saying. "There was some reason he must have been so strong. There's reasons that" it -- to convey that somehow there was some external factor that was contributing to his flight, as opposed to his desire to preserve his own life.


And so, all of those factors is likely what the officers are looking at -- the prosecutor, to say, "These are the officers, whose behavior was knowing, in some way, coordinated, and responsible, for the ultimate death."

BERMAN: One of the charges that didn't raise eyebrows, but was notable to a lot of legal experts? Well, two charges.

The kidnapping charges, some people consider that to be relatively novel legal theory here. What it suggests is there is a moment, when a detention by police officers may go from lawful to unlawful?

COATES: Right.

BERMAN: They are being unlawfully detained. Now that we've all seen the video, Laura, is there a specific moment you can see, where prosecutors will say, "OK, this is where it's now kidnapping."

COATES: Well think about kidnapping in terms of false imprisonment, as in you are detaining somebody, who you have no right to detain.

The second they realize there's no probable cause, to arrest, and/or stop and pursue, is the delineation point, in which the lawful custody has now ended, and the restraint then begins. That's probably the range of time. But there are different moments to which the officers were going to point, in the defense, about this issue.

But think about, in terms of false imprisonment, not the abducting of somebody, and carrying away.

BERMAN: And maybe from the very beginning, is what you're saying, when this was all an issue.

COATES: Could be.

BERMAN: And that certainly raises a whole lot of questions.


BERMAN: Because we don't know what happened before the video even begins tonight, and we are left to wonder there.

Laura, much more, with you, coming up, thank you.


BERMAN: A lot more to come, from here and, in Memphis, reaction from a member of the City Council, next.