Legal analysts react to release of violent Memphis police body camera video

Legal analysts are reacting to the release of body cam footage showing the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 10:47 PM CST

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Legal analysts are reacting to the release of body cam footage showing the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols.

Memphis authorities released the video Friday that showed multiple police officers chasing and punching Nichols.

The footage came out one day after the officers were charged with murder in Nichols’ death. Attorney Ben Crump said the action taken against the officers happened more quickly than in past notable cases.

Franz Borghardt, a legal analyst and criminal defense attorney in Baton Rouge, believes this level of transparency and swift action sets a new standard for police departments across the country.

“This idea that we can skirt something under the rug, or that someone can skirt something under the rug, it doesn’t happen anymore,” said Borghardt.

Borghardt compared the level of transparency from police to past cases in Louisiana. He referenced the Ronald Greene case, and more recently, the I-10 deadly shooting involving Louisiana State Police and an alleged drug dealer.

“What we’re seeing now around the country, and locally, is a desire to have transparency,” said Borghardt.

Borghardt explained the rationale behind releasing video now instead of waiting until a possible trial.

“I think it’s a triage priority question. Do you want a city to not have massive protests, massive violence, massive looting, rioting, whatever you want to call it, because they know they’re going to get the full story,” said Borghardt.

Borghardt says police can run the chance of not having a fair trial if a video is made public too soon, but he says it’s a risk more departments around the state and the country could be willing to take.

“We are possibly rebuilding the ability to trust and rely on the criminal justice system that may have had an erosion of trust with some of the past incidents because of a failure to do a timely transparency,” said Borghardt.

Borghardt believes this could be a sign of what’s to come as it relates to future police work.

“Maybe we’re rebuilding that coastline so to speak, and with time we get to a place of equilibrium where society expects to get transparency, they get transparency, and then they wait for the justice system to do the rest,” said Borghardt.

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