Protests break out across the country after video footage shows Memphis police beating Tire Nichols
Protests have erupted in cities across the country following the release of body camera footage of five Tennesee police officers brutally assaulting motorist Tire Nichols during a traffic stop.
Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, was arrested earlier this month and arrested for alleged reckless driving. Body camera footage released Friday by officials shows Memphis police officers beat and sprinkle with pepper Nichols lying on the ground during the Jan. 7 encounter. He was seriously injured in the assault and died three days later from cardiac arrest and kidney failure.
The release of the videos depicting Nichol’s fatal beatings caused heartache and public unrest across the country. Traffic in Times Square in New York has accelerated stop Friday night as people took to the streets to protest Nichols’ death, some chanting, “All cops are bastards.” In Boston, protesters held up a banner in the street psalmody, “Brick by brick, wall by wall, these racist systems must fall.”
The five police officers involved in Nichols’ death have been arrested and charged with second degree murder Thursday. Two were released on bail, and all five were fired from the Memphis Police Department. The Department of Justice and the FBI announcement last week that they would investigate Nichols’ death.
Earlier this month, a Photo de Nichols in an “unrecognizable” condition in his hospital bed has been released. In a Interview with CNNNichols’ parents said seeing their son in the hospital in such horrific condition reminded Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old black man who was kidnapped and lynched in 1955. (Till’s body was placed in an open casket at the request of his mother, who wanted people to see the brutality, injustice and racism that led to her son’s death. This served as a catalyst for the civil rights movement).
Police brutality and misconduct, which has been the subject of protest for decades, received widespread attention in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd as protests spread around the world in support of the Black Lives Matter movement .
“Do you know how much strength it takes to beat someone with your bare hands, how much violence it takes, how much anger it takes, how much hate it must take?” McKayla Wilkes, the founder of grassroots organization Schools Not Jails, said while attending a rally in Washington, DC on Friday. “I think we need to break the system, shut it down, and reinvent what it’s like for our communities to actually be safe.”
President Joe Biden called for peaceful protests in a statement released Thursday.
“As Americans mourn, the Justice Department conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tire’s family in calling for a peaceful protest,” Biden said. “Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable. Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.
He added, “Public trust is the foundation of public safety, and there are still too many places in America today where the bonds of trust are frayed or broken. Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system delivers on the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment and dignity for all.
Most of the protests appeared peaceful in videos circulating online. However, in New York, a protester was dragged from the hood of a police car after hitting the windshield. According to NBC New York, three people have been arrested for vandalizing a New York Police Department vehicle.
The 2020 Black Lives Matter protests were seen by some as largely violent. But reports show that 93% of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020 were peaceful. Additionally, some activists stress that no one should dictate how people protest in the face of oppression.
“You cannot tell people how to protest and resist the violent state oppression that we all face,” grassroots organizer Bree Newsome Bass said in a statement. Tweeter.
Nichols’ mother started a GoFundMe on Friday. More rallies and marches are expected to continue Saturday night in cities across the United States, including Memphis, Boston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and more.