NewsPalm Beach County


South Florida community reacts with anger, shock, sadness after watching video of beating

'Brutal, barbaric and truly a black eye on the entire law enforcement community,' former FBI agent says
Posted at 1:05 AM, Jan 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-28 07:45:54-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The brutal beating and the death three days later of a Memphis man by police officers prompted a wave of emotions from the South Florida community after viewing the video Friday: shock, anger, sadness.

A former FBI agent and current defense attorney, the CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County CEO and the president of the Palm Beach County Black Caucus spoke with WPTV after watching video of officers beating Tyre Nichols after a traffic stop on Jan. 7.

Stuart Kapan: Retired FBI agent-turned-defense attorney

WPTV anchor Michael Williams interviewed Kapan after he watched the full video of the beating.

“Brutal, barbaric and truly a black eye on the entire law enforcement community," Kaplan said. "I have seen horrible videos in the past. I’ve seen that type of brutality. I have never seen a group of men acting in concert together with such brutality and in such barbaric behavior.

How do bad officers get on the force?

"I've always advocated that we need a unified one-stop vetting process," Kapan responded. "Candidates that want to be a police officer go through the same uniform background checks and psychological background checks and to ensure that we are getting the best caliber of people out there, whether they are going to work in Los Angeles, New York City, a small city, Memphis. I want to have unified standards."

A defense attorney for one of the men earlier said the video doesn't tell the full story.

"It tells more of a story," Kaplan said. "The brutality of the five guys beating this guy up and obviously they killed him. That's bad. The worst part about the video is the other officers who come on scene. There are about five or six officers that come on scene that are summoned to the scene. Not one of them attempt to even render aid, find out what happened, de-escalate, do anything that any fellow human being would have done or are trained to do to at least make sure this guy had a survivable chance to live and to get aid you render to him. All the first responding officers, each and every one of them, should be fired and also prosecuted for not intervening."

Twenty minutes lapsed between the ending of the beating and officers' attempts to render aid.

Patrick Franklin: CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County

"We need to change what's happening," Franklin told WPTV's Kamrel Eppinger. "We need to change the system. We have to change the way we are policing. We need to understand that that is unacceptable. That's not protecting and serving. Not at all."

What was his reaction after watching the video?

"That's absolute straight out killing, and for that to be acceptable and accepted in society," Franklin said. "No, no, we just lost layers of trust with law enforcement after see something like that."

Franklin did commend the Memphis Police Department and prosecutors for swift action leading to arrests of the five accused officers.

He said the incident should set the standard for investigations in the future.

Richard Riles: President of the Palm Beach County Black Caucus

Ryles also commended to Eppinger how the police department has handled this case.

By moving expeditiously, holding the officers accountable and now releasing the video, they have garnered trust in the community and minimized the potential violence nationwide, Ryles said.

"Looking at the video, however, I see that there are other officers who likewise may be charged in the future as a result and their participation," Ryles said. "The callousness of this act is deplorable and is apparent. My heart really goes out to the parents of the young man that was killed, and I pray that justice is served for these citizens."