'Depraved indifference to human life': Legal experts shocked by Tyre Nichols video
Police car lights (Shutterstock)

On Friday evening, the Memphis Police Department released body camera footage showing four since-fired officers brutally beating Tyre Nichols during a traffic stop. Nichols died later as a result of his injuries, and the officers behind the beating, who worked for the so-called SCORPION unit, have now been charged with murder.

Legal experts on Twitter were quick to react with horror on the video, which was split into four parts and did not include footage of the original traffic stop, but showed the officers beating Nichols multiple times as he screamed in pain and also showed paramedics failing to render proper aid when they arrived on the scene.

"A depraved indifference toward human life," said Georgia State Law professor Anthony Michael Kreis. "Nothing short of an extra-judicial execution."

Wheaton political science professor Miranda Yaver agreed, writing, "The first major news story that I remember following on TV was the beating of Rodney King. It’s infuriating how little has changed since then."

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Former federal prosecutor Harry Litman walked through some of the most significant parts.

"Nichols does nothing to resist arrest while the officers kick and punch Nichols and beat him with a baton. He falls and stands up and gets pummeled by 5 blows," wrote Litman. "Video 3 is maybe the worst Officers taser him, threaten to do it again. Nichols screams out "Mom" repeatedly Officers f-bomb him repeatedly Officers breathless from beating him ... They actually stand him up to beat him again and worse."

Meanwhile, civil rights attorney Andrew Laufer retweeted the statement, "I won’t be sharing the video or viewing it. I will say it’s long past time to end qualified immunity [for police officers] across the board."