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The Killing Of Tyre Nichols: Memphis Releases Deadly Police Beating Video; Memphis Police SCORPION Unit Inactivated And Put under Review. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired January 28, 2023 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: The country is reeling in the wake of yet another excruciating video, showing the brutal assault; this time of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man beaten, kicked, over and over again, to the point he couldn't even sit up.
Three days later, he died. This time, we have new details on how that gruesome video is leading to even more accountability. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz has the latest on the ground in Memphis.
Shimon, what's happening?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Continued fallout here from this incident, from the horrific beating. After the video went public, the sheriff here in the Shelby County put out a statement, saying he learned two of his deputies were on scene that night.
And as a result of that, because of this video becoming public, he's placed those deputies on leave. So it's two sheriff's deputies that are now on leave. And of course, you know, we're learning more about this SCORPION unit, the team that these officers were part of.
The family calling for them to be disbanded. Well, the mayor and police department here saying that that unit for right now is not operating in this city. They have sort of suspended their operations while they continue their investigation.
But they're not outright going to say at this point that they're going to disband this unit. They're blaming the problems on these officers and not the unit.
The other thing throughout this and, of course, watching this video, Laura, are the EMTs, the medics on scene, how long it took for them to offer Tyre Nichols any kind of help.
For minutes and minutes he laid there, bleeding after being brutally beaten. The questions, of course, about those EMTs and the other officers who were on scene and the continued investigation, where it appears so much more to come.
COATES: Thank you so much. We'll continue to lean on you and your insight reporting here.
I want to bring that Memphis city council member, Michalyn Easter- Thomas.
Councilwoman, thank you for being here this evening. It must be a trying time for Memphis. The nation is watching. There has been peaceful protests and calm in the city of Memphis tonight, which is in line with the wishes of Tyre Nichols' mother.
Can you tell us what the community is feeling and what you're seeing this evening?
MICHALYN EASTER-THOMAS, MEMPHIS CITY COUNCIL: Yes, Laura. As you say, the world is watching and everything tonight has been, in my eyes, beautiful, not only because it was peaceful but because it was direct. It was focused.
It was bringing Memphis together as we always do and it's calling for accountability for local leaders such as myself and those who we send to the state legislature to really have an impact on how we treat our accountability and efficiency of our law enforcement.
And as we see from the video, other first responders. We not only just have MPD but also the fire department has been called in question for some employees as well as Shelby County. So I think the community --
COATES: Continue, please.
EASTER-THOMAS: Laura, I was going to say I think the community is calling for a swift and efficient action. I would say that, in 2020, after the wake of George Floyd and for a lot of us being our first few months in the term of office, we passed resolutions that act or gave recommendations to the Memphis Police Department.
I think now what we're going to see is more direct action in the form of ordinances and legislation.
COATES: How about the idea of that specialized unit, the SCORPION unit -- I keep going back to what the acronym stands for, Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods.
Obviously, we saw something very different from that unit in those videos this evening.
Will the priority be, as discussed, the possibility of disbanding that particular unit?
EASTER-THOMAS: I'm calling for disbanding of the unit. I know our police chief and I think she's doing a good job, CJ Davis. They say it's suspended operations. However, I'm calling for the disbanding of it. We can say it was just a few officers.
But we don't know the extent of what training or culture was permeating within that unit and I think disbanding is the best way to go. COATES: Speaking of officers -- and we mean that in a plural sense -- five officers have been charged with conversations surrounding at least two county level officers, now placed on some kind of leave pending investigation or review. But there were many more officers on that scene.
COATES: And for many who just watched the video for the first time, myself included, were sort of adding up the people on the scene and wondering and trying to home in on why the decision of just the five so far, given that there were other officers on the scene.
And of course, members of the paramedics squad, et cetera.
What is the community's and your reaction to seeing a greater police presence than initially thought?
EASTER-THOMAS: It's disheartening on two ends. One, that many more people decided not to help Mr. Nichols. That many more people decided to on look and not offer any aid or stop what was going on.
And that many more people were (INAUDIBLE) in the murder and the killing of Mr. Tyre Nichols. And so I think that that causes further investigation from the city side of why this information was not made known public before the release of video.
And so I, along with other community members and leaders and activists, are wondering what's currently happening?
I counted nine individuals in the video. I might be off but, if at one point in the second elongated video, I counted nine individuals. And so we want to know the names and roles of those nine and what's happening with them as well.
COATES: A really important consideration, thank you so much, councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas this evening, thank you.
EASTER-THOMAS: Thank you, Laura.
COATES: I want to turn to CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams and also Dr. Rashawn Ray, professor of sociology at the University of Maryland is here. And law enforcement analyst Michael Fanone also with us on this panel.
Gentlemen, when you hear the idea of how many officers were present, when you think about where things are right now with the release of the footage, this is actually -- this is close to home for you, in particular, Dr. Rashawn Ray.
This is your hometown community as well.
When you're watching it, based on -- you train officers well and your work as a sociologist, what was your impression, now that you have seen this video and the presence of more than five officers on that scene? DR. RASHAWN RAY, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Well, yes, I'm a native Tennessean. I went to the University of Memphis, training police officers, working with hundreds of them, the big thing that stood out to me is, I'm wondering is culture is actually reformable.
We're talking about policy change. I think that's a big movement we're seeing in Memphis, people are protesting, saying, look, we're holding our legislators accountable, which is different from saying we're just going to hold law enforcement accountable.
People are recognizing that lawmakers actually make the laws but we need culture to change. And policy can do a lot but culture is something different.
When I watched that video and saw the lack of duty to intervene, it highlighted what I always say about how bad apples come from rotten trees. They were focusing on these five individuals but it's very clear that there is a structural link (ph) at play, not just in the Memphis Police Department but in other police departments around the country.
COATES: That's interesting, can the culture be reformed?
I turn to you, Michael; in your policing, you've seen first hand what the culture of police departments can be. Obviously, there's some connective tissue and yet they're independent from one another.
I wonder in looking at this and thinking about presence of all the officers there, what is your impression about the idea of the calls to disband this unit?
Would that stop something like this from happening?
MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, absolutely not. Whether or not you disband that unit, it's not going to be alleviate the need for proactive style police work.
You know, we saw in Washington, D.C., the disbandment of vice units, similarly styled to the SCORPION unit -- units that I was a part of for two decades -- short term investigative units, plainclothes officers, those that are out there every single day, responding to violent crimes, your robberies, your burglaries, dealing with drug complaints.
And when those units were disbanded, we saw two things that were incredibly problematic. In the short term, our department lost its ability to deal with open air drug markets, drug complaints.
These aren't officers that are out there, you know -- what I'm trying to say is they were responding to complaints from the community about this type of activity. And so the community is filing complaints and there's no mechanism to address those.
The other thing is that these types of units, these, you know, kind of junior investigative units --
FANONE: -- are what create and are a pipeline for officers into homicide, into other units. They are intelligence driven units. They develop intelligence. I learned how to develop informants to work with cooperators. I learned about the basics behind assembling an investigation, which led to more complex cases later on in my career.
COATES: But can't both things be true?
Units can have that particular role, be that vehicle for more experience, be needed or wanted by the community and for this not to represent proactive style policing and instead, excessive force?
FANONE: When I looked at those videos -- and I draw from my experience in these types of units -- what I know from my 20 years in law enforcement that I think is universal is that training in law enforcement is inadequate, wholly inadequate.
The quantity of the training is inadequate and the quality of the training is inadequate. What I see play out time and time and time again in these types of situations -- and, you know, some of them I'm sure there's a racial component there. You know, they're complex issues and there's not one specific, you know, solution.
But overall, what I see is a lack of quality training and, for whatever the reason, we never seem to address that.
COATES: I want to bring you in in a second, Elliot.
But I do want to ask you one more question on that point, because as somebody who trained officers yourself, do we have to train humanity?
Is that something -- you would hope would be innate; we know that it's not always.
RAY: Yes, most definitely. So we have a virtual reality program at the University of Maryland and we put officers in the types of situations they encounter every single day.
But I served on peace officer standards and trainings commissions. And individuals are getting through kind of this leaky pipeline to become police officers where, a decade or two ago, they might not be able to get through.
But police departments really need bodies. What happens is you get these individuals that come in, who are highly problematic, who people know are problematic.
In this case, people who might have came (sic) from corrections to police departments or from other units to this unit and they get passed by, the buck just gets passed around until these particular incidents happen.
So it is a lack of humanity but it is also a lack of a structural issue at play within police departments. So when I hear Chief Davis make statement like, essentially that we
have a leadership problem, that suggests to me not only is it about humanity but it's about the fact we have a leaky pipeline that allowed unqualified individuals, morally, from a humanity standpoint, to even be police officers in the first place.
COATES: That's part of what you mentioned to me before, the idea of pattern of practice, is what the civil rights division might look into it. And --
COATES: -- can be a part of it in the end. But the immediacy, they seemed to have been trained on -- and many officers are -- what statements you ought to make to ensure there's some justification for the use of force when challenged.
I want to play now, Elliot, there's a moment here where they're showing Tyre Nichols falling over onto the ground. And you hear the officers make a statement akin to, "He's high as kite," or something like that.
And then at another point, officers making statements trying to justify the behavior. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, "Hey, bro, what's up?"
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn my light over, (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) high as a kite.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Talking about his -- what they perceive his state of mind and physical stature to be, et cetera, what do you make of -- again, we don't have any official reports on toxicology. There's been no statement by the police force, the chief or anyone else to suggest that he, in fact, was in any way under the influence of a substance.
But what do you make of that?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So here's what I make of it.
"He's high." "He touched my gun."
[01:15:00] WILLIAMS: "He's a big guy," "he's struggling," "he punched me." All those are justifications are for detaining someone, searching someone, et cetera, under the law. We don't know exactly what happened because it's a bit of a mess.
What we do know is we have video. What I can say with certainty -- to me -- I've been saying this a long time -- there's probably no greater reform and frankly simpler reform that law enforcement can pursue than putting body cams on every officer and making those videos available.
And for two big reasons. It's not just for locking up dirty cops or bad cops; it's for exonerating people, who have not done anything wrong. So everybody, whether it's the public, whether it's people accused of crimes or whether it's cops accused of brutality, everybody benefits from having like a camera on.
Because if you haven't done anything wrong, you have an incontrovertible piece of evidence that shows what happened in real time.
But there's a lot of resistance. Increasingly you're seeing more body cameras. But let's go back to George Floyd, two or three years ago. You know, it's a cell phone camera. Now there was body camera footage there. But we would not have known of any of that without real-time video of it and it's so valuable on all sides.
COATES: There were moment when you're watching it, there was extended periods of time, it seemed like it was being covered up in some ways, an obstructed view. I don't know if they were covering it intentionally or not. But there was some obstruction of view.
What did you make of the idea of the cameras being present?
FANONE: Well, I was one of those officers that, at the outset of their introduction, I had some concerns. And the concerns were borne out of -- and, as a prosecutor, I'm sure you're familiar with this phenomenon, the "CSI" effect.
And this idea that, you know, now juries are going to look at a body worn camera footage not as an evidence collection tool but literally as a report of, you know, everything that took place.
And it is, you know, when you have a body worn camera on and you interact, as you saw in that situation, the camera is shaky. It doesn't capture every single thing. It's possible for an officer to observe things that are not recorded on their body worn camera.
And a lot of times, you know, what we would see is juries would look at the body worn camera. And if it didn't show exactly what the officer described, the officer was discredited.
WILLIAMS: To that point -- that's why it's hard to get criminal convictions sometimes -- juries expect -- you bring something to trial, you have to have DNA all over everything, fingerprints on everything. I've heard judges talk about where people have in their heads this idea that science pervades everything that happens at a crime scene and that a video will be the final proof and that you're just going to get a guy's blood spatter, whatever else.
It's just not how it works. It's messier and more complicated than that. Now I think video evidence is valuable but it's not the one thing that I think people rely on.
COATES: Quick last word.
RAY: The video matters. We've seen it in a very big way. Biden talked about trauma. Community trauma is big, this illness spillover of police violence matters. We need to focus on people's mental health to heal people.
Research documents, that people live in overly policed communities suffer when it comes to their mental and physical health. But Memphis got a lot of things right. People should follow suit.
COATES: We'll see if it becomes (INAUDIBLE). A very fine point indeed.
Everyone, stick around. Some of the five fired Memphis police officers accused in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols were members of the Memphis Police SCORPION unit. We're talking about that today. And it's meant to tackle rising crime in the city. Now the unit is inactivated and also is under review.
So what comes next?
COATES: Mostly peaceful protests tonight over the death of Tyre Nichols after he was beaten by officers in the videos now released. Protesters in Memphis blocking a highway and chanting, "No justice, no peace."
In New York City, three demonstrators were arrested in Times Square and amid minor clashes with police.
But back in Memphis, the police department said their SCORPION unit has been inactivated and put under review following the death of Tyre Nichols. At least two of the five officers charged were a part of the controversial unit.
Lawyers for the Nichols family calling for that unit to be disbanded earlier today. Back with me now, Michael Fanone and joining us as well, Neill Franklin, a retired major in the Maryland State Police. We begin with you, Mr. Franklin, on this issue and I wonder about your initial reactions to having seen the video footage and calls for this unit to be disbanded.
MAJOR NEILL FRANKLIN (RET.), MARYLAND STATE POLICE: Well, my initial reactions are here we go again. But yet, I'm not surprised. We've been dealing with this culture, this type of use of force, excessive force, for a very long time, not just decades but over a century.
The culture that we see is way more than a century old. And it will take a very long time to do something about that. Every day, we have these --
FRANKLIN: -- every day we had these types of beatings. We just don't have the video to show it in communities. We have 18,000 police departments across the country and as we've seen with this, the narratives are constructed.
You know, the reports are crafted and the difference here is that we had someone die. But we have these beatings all the time and we'll continue to have them until we change the culture.
With regard to the unit, I think it's the right move to suspend it. I've never been a proponent of these special units, whether we're talking about drug units -- I'm from Baltimore. I know you remember the gun trace task force (ph) and this unit, who we give all this praise to, when they go out and they get guns and drugs.
FRANKLIN: And again this, the matrix that we use to measure their performance is usually the numbers of guns, kilos of drugs, the numbers of arrests. And we can't do that. But I've never been a proponent of these units. We give them exceptional praise. We give them carte blanche.
They end up with impunity and then we have corruption and have the use of force that is inappropriate more times than not.
COATES: Let's bring in Michael Fanone.
The idea of the metrics by which we judge the success of these individual units, not in terms of the behavior -- and it sounds as though the ends justify the means.
Do you see it that way, where the metrics are how we judge success, is the wrong way to do this?
FANONE: I mean, listen, used appropriately, I think that those types of units are invaluable. That being said, I mean, there's, you know, I've been a part of units that were misused, misdeployed.
There was a period of time where vice units in Washington, D.C., became essentially body squads. We unofficial arrest mandates and we were judged by the quantity and not the quality of the arrests made.
That being said, we made changes quite a while ago and I know for a fact, under Chief Conte, that he does not care about the quantity of arrests that are made. He cares about the quality of arrests.
And the fact that those arrests can be successfully prosecuted, because ultimately unless we can really hold these individuals accountable for their actions, it's meaningless.
COATES: That's an important point to bring in. Frankly, I'll bring you back to the conversation because judging to hold to account the actions, obviously the goal of policing and part -- and protection obviously and public safety.
But here -- and I want to point to the Memphis police chief earlier today, this morning telling my colleague, Don Lemon, that there was nothing on any of the videos to substantiate probable cause for even pulling him over.
I wonder, did you get a sense of what the actions would have been, that would have caused the series of events captured on film?
FRANKLIN: No, not to cause those events. Obviously, we know that police officers can pull someone over for just about anything today; pretextual stuff. It's very easy to have probable cause to make a traffic stop.
But to end up where they did with this particular incident and this heinous beating we saw, I can't think of any traffic violation that would warrant such.
We saw them crafting the narrative on video about the grabbing of the gun, the taking a swing at one of the officers. And we saw when he was being brought out of the car, none of that happen. There was no aggression on any video at any time in either circumstance, where he, you know, he displayed whatsoever.
They can't justify the beating. They can justify the stop but they cannot justify this level of beating that they -- that they did. Just can't do it.
COATES: On that point, Michael, are you interested in seeing -- is this something you want to see more, to be able to formulate the opinion of what happened here?
FANONE: Well, I mean, listen, regardless of whether or not, you know, there ends up being evidence to support the officer's reason for making the traffic stop, it really doesn't make a difference to me one way or another, because at the end of the day, you know, nothing can justify the outcome in this situation, which is Mr. Nichols' lost his life.
So, no, I mean, further investigation, I'm sure at some point, we'll hear or gather statements from those officers about what they specifically observed that resulted in that traffic stop and the conduct that we observed at the outset of the video. Why was it that these officers seem to be so aggressive in pulling Mr.
Nichols from the vehicle?
What actions did they observe Mr. Nichols take?
Or was there a lack of justification for that level of aggression?
COATES: In end, as you say, he did lose his life.
Gentlemen, thank you.
COATES: There's more to this conversation that we will continue to have. Appreciate it.
I want to turn now and focus on someone who's extremely important in this conversation. In the midst of her devastation and her grief, Tyre Nichols' mother says she feels sorry for the police officers who beat her son.
And that she knows Tyre is looking down and smiling at her. Next, the strength and dignity of RowVaughn Wells.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROWVAUGHN WELLS, TYRE NICHOLS' MOTHER: My son is looking down, smiling, because, you know, it's funny; he always said he was going to be famous one day. I didn't know this is how he was going to -- this is what he meant.
But if ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
WELLS: I really don't know what else to say right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: That was Tyre Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, during a press conference earlier this afternoon.
COATES: This morning she sat down with CNN's Don Lemon and reflected on her son, who he was as a person and what she'll remember most about her beloved son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WELLS: I'll never have my baby again. But I do know that he was a good person and that all this, all the good in Tyre will come out. And so that's what keeps me going, because I just feel like my son was sent here on assignment from God.
And his assignment is -- was over. It's over. And he was sent back home and God is not going to let any of his children's names go in vain. So when this is all over, it's going to be some good and some positive, because my son was a good and positive person. And that's what keeps me going.
That was my baby. He was a mama's boy. That boy loved me to death. He has my name tattooed on his arm. People don't know what those five police officers did to our family. And they really don't know what they did to their own families.
They have put their own families in harm's way. They have brought shame to their own families. They have brought shame to the Black community. I just feel sorry for -- I feel sorry for them. I really do.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Mom?
LEMON: What you going to miss about him the most?
WELLS: His beautiful smile. And just, my son had a beautiful soul. And he touched a lot of people. And I always joke because he'll come in the house and he'll come in and say, "Hello, parents."
WELLS: I'll never hear that again. I'll never cook for my son again. I'll never get a hug from my son again. I won't get anything from my son again just because some officers decided they wanted to do harm to my son. So this is very difficult thing. No mother should have to go through this, no mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: No, no mother should have had to. And neither should have you.
After the break, we'll hear what RowVaughn Wells was told by police that night about what happened to her baby, Tyre. And we'll talk about the questions swelling around that story when we come back.
(MUSIC PLAYING) COATES: Questions are building around Memphis police department's initial version of events and what happened to Tyre Nichols. Here's what Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, said to Don Lemon about what the police told her that night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WELLS: The Memphis Police Department banged on our door approximately around, between 8:30 and 9:00, asking if I knew Tyre Nichols.
And we said, "Yes, what's going on?"
"He's been arrested."
"Arrested for what?"
"My son don't drink like that.
"What do you mean, DUI?"
"Well, we had to pepper spray him and tase him, so he's being attended to by the paramedics and we'll send him to the hospital. And then after that, he'll go to booking."
They then asked me, was he on any type of drugs or anything of that nature, because he was -- they were saying that it was so difficult to put the handcuffs on him and he had this amount of energy --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
WELLS: -- superhuman energy.
And what they were describing was not my son. So I was very confused. I asked if I can go to the hospital. They told me no. They left. My husband and I, we got in our car and went to go see if we could find Ty, because he wasn't answering his phone or anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Back with me, CNN's Van Jones, also retired LAPD Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey and CNN's Juliette Kayyem.
I want to begin with you, Sgt. Dorsey, on the idea of the officers going to the house and stating what they said to the family, given what we've seen.
What do you make of their questions about Tyre Nichols?
CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT: The more I hear, the more questions I have and the more problematic I think this will become for this police chief, because who went to the house?
That's what I want to know.
Who went to their house?
DORSEY: And does the chief know that they were at her house?
Because, listen, when an officer tells a lie, that is misconduct on the Los Angeles Police Department, that means that you can no longer go to court and raise your hand and testify to tell the truth, because you are a proven and demonstrated liar.
So the problem that I see in all of this is you have a unit of liars. You have officers who lied about the detention. You have officers who followed that lie up by going to the parents' house and alleging their son had been charged with a DUI.
So the problem this department has with that SCORPION unit and every officer on scene is, every arrest report that they've been involved in is now tainted. And anybody who has an arrest report with the name of any of those officers needs to get a good attorney.
COATES: That's an important point you raised, the idea of the officers and credibility allegations that will be raised and addressed at this point.
Let me turn to you on this, Juliette, the idea of the statements that are often put out in describing a police encounter, they don't always add up and they're not always the same as what ultimately comes out through prosecution.
Case in point, take a look at this statement everyone from the Memphis PD released on January 8th, saying, quote, "While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred. However, the suspect was ultimately apprehended.
"Afterward, the suspect complained of having a shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene."
How does this statement square with what you saw this evening, Juliette?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Not at all. I agree with Cheryl, it's not clear to me that the leadership of the Memphis Police Department, who I complimented in a lot of their straightforwardness, it is not at all clear how this ends for them.
Remember, we're a few weeks now out from the murder and so a lot was going on in that two-week period before they fired the police officers, before we got the videos, before they disbanded or put on hiatus the SCORPION unit.
So I think it's clear that at least some part of the police department either was told something to protect the unit or lied themselves to protect the unit. And I think this will be the ongoing investigation that we see.
I am not at all surprised; many will remember the George Floyd, the first police report was that he had choked or -- couldn't catch his breath. It was perverse in many ways. And it was only because of an outside video that we began to see the -- what had happened.
So this is not uncommon and part of, I think, a larger reckoning that will happen in the Memphis Police Department, even if some of their activities now are more transparent than we've seen in the past.
COATES: Van, let me bring you in here and there is a statement by Ms. RowVaughn Wells, where she's speaking in part about going and finding out what actually happened to her son at the hospital, where she talks about, he was pepper sprayed.
And that he had bruises all over him, that his body, they broke his neck, she says, and that her son's nose looked like an S. She went on to talk about the state of his body and that he was gone, in her mind, when she arrived.
When you hear and think about the contradictions between what she was told and what ultimately was revealed in these videos, speak to me about the importance of the capture of it, the idea of this memorialization (sic) that we have not traditionally always seen but now become increasingly accustomed to expecting and needing.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think, first of all, it's just the dignity and the grace of the mother is just extraordinary. On the one hand tonight, you're depressed. You have to be depressed because what you're seeing are police who are routine.
They seem routine, how they beat the guy, how they tried to cover it up. That seemed routine and that's depressing.
But what's inspiring is that there's a resilience and a beauty and a dignity and the strength in this community and especially in the Black mothers in this community, that time and time again, shows itself.
And that, that is something that I think everybody tonight needs to hold on to. What kind of strength, for her to sit there and to explain what she explained and to talk about her son the way that she did.
And so, yes, there's a lot of lying going on. But a deeper truth was being told by that mother.
JONES: She is not going to let this despicable act take away her joy, her love for her son, her belief in his destiny. Even now, she is sticking up for his destiny. She said he's going to be known. And this is not in vain.
And so you're seeing the worst and the best tonight. And I just wanted to say I appreciate her strength and she's giving strength to the whole country tonight. COATES: She certainly has and we continue to think about her and what she must be going through, not even having a moment to grieve the loss of an extraordinary son.
Thank you so much everyone.
In just a moment, I'll bring you final thoughts on what we have all witnessed tonight.
COATES: I want to end tonight where we began.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TYRE NICHOLS, MURDER VICTIM: Damn, I didn't do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn your ass around.
NICHOLS: All right, all right, all right, no problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't do that, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: "You don't do that, OK?"
One of the questions we hear and alluding to is, what has he done?
COATES: What did he do to warrant the behavior that we have seen?
And sitting here today, after hours of coverage and analyzing and searching for the answer to that question, we are left without an answer to what may have been one of his final, what did he do?
I turn to my own children and try to explain any part of this, sitting here today, I won't have an answer. And I wonder if justice will find one.
Thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We're bringing you special live coverage in the wake of Memphis authorities releasing video of the fatal beating by police of Tyre Nichols three weeks ago this weekend.
LEMON: Hello, once again, John.
In just the last hour or so, more fallout here.