UPDATE: Step-by-step analysis of Nicolas Morales dash cam video addresses inaccuracies in initial press reports…

WARNING: The raw dash cam footage from police patrol cars in the video above contains moments that are graphic and truly devastating to watch.  While it is crucial to know exactly what happened that night to understand the deep injustice of Nicolas’s violent death at the hands of the police, and to know what must be done to combat that injustice now and in the future, please be advised that the events captured in the video are deeply painful, and heart-wrenching, to witness.

Yesterday afternoon, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) issued a press release announcing the State Attorney’s decision not to press charges for the September 17, 2020, killing of Nicolas Morales Besanilla by Corporal Jean Pierre of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.  The CCSO also released two videos from the dash cameras installed in the patrol cars on the scene, the very videos that Nicolas’s family and the Immokalee community had been demanding to be released for nearly five months.

Since yesterday’s release, there have been numerous press reports that either failed to convey the events of that night accurately, or failed to offer any context for fully understanding Nicolas’s actions or the actions of the police.  We will not link to those stories, but rather to a more accurate, more nuanced report, from local CBS affiliate WINK News, that includes a sense of the immediate local reaction to the CCSO’s announcement. 

Using the footage released on Friday, we have put together a video that begins to break down the events of that night, specifically the minutes immediately before, during and after Nicolas’s shooting, with step-by-step explanation of some of the key moments, actions, and context, for a more informed viewing. That video is here above.

We will follow this video with a second post that goes deeper into the decisions made, and actions taken, by the deputies that night, in particular Nicolas’s killer, Cpl Jean Pierre.  That post will demonstrate that not only was Nicolas’s death entirely preventable — and therefore could not reasonably be called justifiable — but that a series of very clear mistakes and missteps on the part of CCSO personnel led inexorably to Nicolas’s violent death.  

So for now, it is important to watch this video and the included commentary for a more informed reading of what transpired that night, and then to check back again in the days ahead for the more thoroughgoing analysis of Nicolas’s brutal, and preventable, death, as well as a discussion of what can be done, both to win justice for Nicolas’s family and the Immokalee community today, and to avoid this sort of needless tragedy in the future.