5 Memphis cops who killed Tyre Nichols charged with murder, kidnapping

Five Memphis police officers involved in the killing of Tire Nichols have been charged with kidnapping and murder. Nichols died after being pulled over for a traffic stop on January 7.

“There was a confrontation,” Nichols fled on foot, and then “another confrontation occurred,” police said. He was taken to the hospital, where he died three days later.

In typical law enforcement parlance, the Memphis Police Department characterized the 29-year-old’s death as the result of injuries sustained during a “use of force incident with officers.”

Authorities will release footage of the incident this evening, according to Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy. And you can tell it’s going to be bad by the fact that officials are already asking people not to riot.

“Officials in Memphis have braced for potential civil unrest and called for peaceful protests ahead of footage of the fatal police encounter expected to be released Friday,” CNN reports. “Local school district also cancelled all extracurricular activities on Fridays in the ‘interest of public safety’.”

President Joe Biden also released a statement yesterday. “I join Tyre’s family in calling for a peaceful protest,” He said Biden. “Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable.”

(Satirical newspaper Bow summarizes as “Police call for calm in light of unspeakable evil they have committed.”)

The five officers charged in connection with Nichols’ death—all now fired from the Memphis Police Department—are Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III and Desmond Mills Jr. They are each charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault-conspiracy, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and one count of official oppression.

All five officers are black, as is Nichols—underscoring how the culture of American policing, not just racism, contributes to America’s massive police brutality problem.

The body camera footage “turns on while the first encounter is underway,” Mulroy told CNN on Thursday. “What struck me (about the video) was how many different incidents of unjustified force happened sporadically by different individuals over a long period of time.”

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch said he was “sickened” by what he saw in the video, calling it “absolutely horrific.”

Antonio Romanucci, an attorney for Nichols’ family, said Nichols “was defenseless the whole time. He was a human piñata for these officers. . . . Not only was it violent, it was savage.”


Judge issues preliminary injunction against California’s COVID-19 censorship law. A federal judge has temporarily halted implementation of a California law (Assembly Bill 2098) that authorized the Medical Board of California to sanction doctors who provide information about COVID-19 that the state deems to be contrary to “current scientific consensus.” The law has been challenged by the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA). Judge William B. Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled yesterday that the NCLA has standing to bring the case and halted enforcement while the case unfolds.

Expression modern scientific consensus “has no established meaning within the medical community,” Shubb noted in his decision. Accordingly, physicians “cannot determine whether their intended behavior is contrary to scientific consensus, and therefore ‘prohibited by law.'”

“COVID-19 is such a new and evolving area of ​​scientific study that it may be difficult to determine which scientific conclusions are ‘false’ at any given time,” Shubb added.

More on the decision here from ReasonJacob Sullum.


Freer countries, richer people. The Cato Institute’s eighth annual Human Freedom Index (HFI) is out. The index ranks countries and jurisdictions around the world by looking at 83 indicators of personal and economic freedom:

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 represents more freedom, the average human freedom score for 165 jurisdictions fell from 7.03 in 2019 to 6.81 in 2020. Most areas of freedom fell, including significant declines in the rule of law and freedom movement, expression, association and assembly and freedom of trade. Based on that coverage, 94.3 percent of the world’s population lives in jurisdictions that recorded a decline in human freedoms from 2019 to 2020, with 148 jurisdictions decreasing their scores and 16 improving.

The top scoring countries (in order) were Switzerland, New Zealand, Estonia, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The selected jurisdictions are ranked as follows: Canada (13), Taiwan (14), Japan (16), Germany (18), United Kingdom (20), United States (23), South Korea (30), Chile (32), France (42), Argentina (74), South Africa (77), Brazil (80), Ukraine (89), Mexico (98), India (112), Russia (119), Nigeria (124), Turkey (130) , China (152), Saudi Arabia (159), Iran (162), Venezuela (163) and Syria (165).

Cato notes that freer countries tend to be richer countries.

Jurisdictions in the most free quartile have more than double the average per capita income ($48,644) of those in the other quartiles ($23,404 for the second most free). On average, the freest jurisdictions in the world have a much higher per capita income than the less free ones. HFI also finds a strong relationship between human freedom and democracy.


• Biden’s biggest mistakes on immigration policy: “failing to frame the border situation as a refugee crisis and continuing some of former President Donald Trump’s border coercion policies.”

• Special counsel John H. Durham’s investigation into whether the Trump-Russia probe was corrupt is closing, “without finding anything like the deep state conspiracy that Mr. Trump alleges and suspects [former Attorney General Bill] Barr,” he notes The New York Times. But at one point, the investigation turned to investigating Trump himself for alleged financial crimes — which the media reported at the time as Durham finding evidence of criminal wrongdoing by people involved in the Russia probe.

• Ben Dreyfuss has some good observations about Stanford students’ reading my struggle

• Spain is considering legislation that would criminalize people who pay for sex and anyone who rents out a room to “facilitate the prostitution of another person, even with their consent.” Human Rights Watch urges Spanish lawmakers to reject this proposal.

• Economist Emily Oster takes a detailed look at research related to alcohol and health.

• TikTok is not a threat to national security.

• A new study published in Journal of Health Economics shows that states with legal marijuana have significantly fewer prescriptions for codeine.

• “So much of the imagery people see about abortion comes from abortion opponents who have spent decades spreading false images of fetuses to further their cause,” the doctors write Erika Bliss, Joan Fleischman, and , co-founder of My Abortion Network. Their goal is to show what pregnancy tissue actually looks like in early pregnancy.

• Flexible homeschooling is entering the mainstream, writes JD Tuccille.

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