"The videos show different angles of Nichols being pepper sprayed, kicked in the head while being restrained, punched and struck multiple times with a baton."


"Two officers can then be seen atop Nichols on the ground, with a third nearby, for about 40 seconds. Three more officers then run up and one can be seen kicking Nichols on the ground."

If Nichols is handcuffed in a prone position, under what circumstances can Police kick Nichols in the head?

Was any statute violated when Tyre Nichols was kicked in the head?

  • Attempted murder and assault without adequate statutory justification?
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 29, 2023 at 18:46
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    Well, Tyre Nichols died, so what happened was all in all murder committed by five people in uniform. Since he wasn't in a position to hurt anyone, any violence would have been assault. I suspect that one hard kick in the head on its own would have been likely attempted murder as well since it could easily have been lethal. And since the five in uniform didn't stop and killed him it turned into murder.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 30, 2023 at 1:34
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    @gnasher729 Had Nichols survived, it would be charged as battery (or Tennessee's equivalent). Assault is a threat of violence or unwanted non-physically harmful touching. Battery is the actual violence. Attempted Murder would require evidence that they intended to murder him but were prevented, which does not look to be the case.
    – hszmv
    Jan 30, 2023 at 12:19
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    @hszmv Not all jurisdictions use the terminology that way. The term "assault" is not infrequently used in statutes to refer to what was historically called "battery."
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 30, 2023 at 19:53
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    I think best practice is to specify the state and use what the statute of the state uses. For example, there simply isn't a criminal statute named "battery" in WA. The term is used only in the context of civil torts litigation while assault is split into 4 degrees, the first 3 being felonies and the 4th being a misdemeanor. Likewise in New York, the differentiation was assault and aggravated assault. Nomenclature matters, and those who practice in the field should use the term that is relevant to the situation and jdx on hand, however pedantic. It's less confusing than using the wrong term.
    – Jim Zhou
    Feb 1, 2023 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


The one that allows police to use reasonable force to effect an arrest and detention

I don’t specifically know which one that is in Tennessee law but it’s bound to be there. If it isn’t, and police are operating under ancient common law, then this is the standard anyway.

Whether force used in a particular case is reasonable is a matter of fact for the jury to decide. The judge will instruct the jury on the relevant law as to what circumstances would justify kicking a restrained person in the head, if any.

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