Tyre Nichols died three days after violently resisting his January 7, 2023 arrest by the Memphis police department. This past Friday, video of that arrest was released. Now five Memphis police officers have been fired and are facing charges of murder. Not that it should matter, but the five officers as well as Nichols are all black.
The death of Nichols has become highly politicized, and the general public is having the usual emotional reaction to the just-released video of yet another bad outcome use-of-force event. Judging by the last day’s worth of social media, much of the internet believes absolutely that the released video provides incontrovertible proof that the death of Nichols was nothing but a vicious murder.
In this LIVE show, airing Sunday, Jan. 29 at 2 PM ET, we set aside emotion, review the facts as revealed by the released video, and apply actual legal principles–rather than emotion–to ask the following question:
Does it seem likely that the death of Nichols was, beyond a reasonable doubt, murder at the hands of the charged officers?
Spoiler: the answer is NO.
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6 thoughts on “Legal Analysis: The Death of Tyre Nichols WAS NOT MURDER!”
AGAIN: in some cases homicide is justifiable, rather by the permission, than by the absolute command of the law: either for the advancement of public justice, which without such indemnification would never be carried on with proper vigor; or, in such instances where it is committed for the prevention of some atrocious crime, which cannot otherwise avoided.
2. HOMICIDES, committed for the advancement of public justice, are;
1. Where an officer, in the execution of his office, either in a civil or criminal case, kills a person that assaults and resists him.11
2. If an officer, or any private person, attempts to take a man charged with felony, and is resisted; and, in the endeavor to take him, kills him.12
Doesn’t sound like it could have been murder under the English common law and I believe the Tennessee Legislature has adopted the English common law as the rule of law and decision in Tennessee.
“surem, si aliter capi non posset, occidere permittunt”
Since the officer who allegedly kicked the suspect in the head would be justified if he subjectively believed it was necessary and if he had a reasonable basis for that belief, before we could say that the legal presumption of innocence has been disproven beyond a reasonable doubt, we would kind of need to know what the evidence is that he actually kicked the suspect in the head, what the evidence is that he didn’t have a subjective belief that it was necessary, and/or what the evidence is that his subjective belief wasn’t objectively reasonable before we could say that the Constitutional legal presumption of innocence has been disproven by the accuser beyond a reasonable doubt.
Just from the video, I couldn’t tell the identity of the officer who kicked at the suspect, I couldn’t tell where or if the kick connected, I couldn’t tell the amount of force of the kick, and I certainly couldn’t tell that the officer didn’t subjectively believe the force was necessary or that he didn’t have a reasonable basis for believing the force was necessary. I have no legitimate reason to believe the allegations against the officers, much less a legitimate reason to believe the accusations “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
As Julian Caesar said: “If it is sufficient merely to accuse, what is to become of the innocent”? And as the old lady in the commercial said: “Where’s the beef”? It certainly isn’t in the videos or the news.
Andrew FYI RE Baldwin
I always notice with you that when a person of color dies at the hands of the police, you can always find a way to justify their actions. You can always find a way to point the finger at the victims. How about it shouldn’t take 5 to 6 highly Trained officers to subdue one person? I am sure you’ve seen videos where white suspects even have guns pointed at the police and they’re not treated the same way. I can imagine you saying that the officers were justified in the beating of Rodney King too. I’ve noticed a pattern with you.
The only reason it would take more than one officer to subdue a suspect is because the officers are trying not to seriously injure or kill the suspect. An officer that didn’t care whether he injured or killed the suspect could subdue him without any assistance from others and do it in a matter of seconds.