One former NYPD inspector condemned the five former Memphis police officers, accused of beating and killing Tyre Nichols, for their “overaggressive” behavior in the tragic incident.
Paul Mauro reacted to the bodycam footage released by the Memphis Police Department showing the officers beating, kicking, and tasing the 29-year-old, noting there was no effort to de-escalate the situation before it reached a tragic level.
“It looks way overaggressive,” Mauro told Pete Hegseth. “The very sort of quick shorthand for police work is generally ask, tell, make. You ask for compliance. You tell if you’re not getting it, and you’re in… legal standing, and then you make if you have to. They went right to make. I don’t see any… portion here where there was an approach that was not anything but DEFCON 5 right away.”
“From what I’ve seen in the footage, they approach the car, they’re screaming, they yank him out of the car… there’s no effort at any sort of de-escalation,” he continued. “In fact, the only person who seems to be de-escalating is Tyre, so it speaks of an approach here that seems to be intrinsic to the unit. There’s something in the culture of the unit.”
The former officers pulled over Nichols on Jan. 7 during a traffic stop, with bodycam video showing the shocking assault.
Nichols can be heard crying out for his mother and telling officers he was “just trying to go home” as they forced him to the ground before tasing, beating, and kicking him.
Nichols was transported to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries, but died three days later. His cause of death has yet to be released.
The officers were a part of the Scorpion Unit, which Mauro explained should have had extensive oversight from a sergeant, given the “sensitive” nature of the unit. It was a semi-undercover operation to reduce street crime, and has since been disbanded following Nichols’ death.
“It really does speak to the idea that there was a lack of training, a lack of supervision and a culture that had developed within this unit,” Mauro said. “That is exactly what you don’t want in police work.”
Former NYPD detective Angel Maysonet also weighed in on the case Sunday, telling Fox & Friends Weekend that the decision to disband the unit may be “reactionary,” but that police should be able to secure public safety without crossing the line.
“The community wants you out there when you’re out there being aggressive, but you can be aggressive, and you can be fair. The two aren’t mutually exclusive,” Maysonet told Will Cain. “When you’re interacting with people, you’re looking for guns, you’re looking for robbery patterns. You can treat people with dignity and respect.”
Mauro mentioned that, at one point during the bodycam footage, an officer can be heard somewhat explaining the situation at hand – which, at that point, had spiraled.
Hegseth asked Mauro if the officers may have been “playing to the cameras.”
“They know that they’re on bodycam, which is really astounding if you think about it, that they felt free to do this while they know that they’re they’re being filmed,” Mauro said. “He seems to be explaining himself at that point, and I’m sure that the prosecutors are going to look very closely at that bodycam to see at any point if Tyre reached for the gun. I didn’t see that, I will tell you that.”
Mauro also noted that the officers left their bodycams on after a portion of the incident, where they can be heard “fist bumping” and “congratulating each other.”
“It’s almost celebratory,” Mauro said. “The optic is bad, and it speaks of a culture that really seems to have become alienated from perhaps the rest of the police department.”
But the larger issue at hand, Maysonet said, is the anti-police rhetoric that has fostered a culture in which officers are leaving the force in “droves.”
“This is a direct result of all this defund the police stuff,” Maysonet said. “You have the war on police and this country is on fire… You have cops who don’t want to stay. You have experienced officers that could have been on that scene. They could have been in that unit that maybe could have prevented this from happening.”
“Police officers don’t want to stay. They’re leaving, they’re retiring in droves,” he continued. “The New York City Police Department was over 3000 police officers last year because of attrition and retirement. You’re forcing experienced officers out, so the experienced officers aren’t there to be in the street to kind of oversee what these young officers are doing and to kind of take control of the situation when it gets out of control, as we saw.”
The five former officers face second-degree murder and assault charges among others. They are set to be arraigned Feb. 17.