Tire Nichols: Protests spread across US after video release

AAfter body camera and surveillance footage of the violent traffic stop that led to Tire Nichols’ death was released on Friday, in which a 29-year-old man was restrained, beaten, tasered and pepper sprayed by Memphis police, protests quickly swept through Memphis, Atlanta, New York, and other parts of the country, demanding justice for Nichols and calling for serious police reform. Protests are expected to continue throughout the weekend.

On Friday night, protesters marched to Interstate 55 in downtown Memphis where they closed the freeway that connects Tennessee and Arkansas. Protests have also erupted around Martyrs Park in Memphis, Tennessee. More than 100 protesters marched chanting ‘we’re ready, we’re ready, we’re ready for y’all’ and demanded to speak to the city’s mayor and police chief, according to local media outlet Memphis Commercial. Appeal.

In Atlanta, Georgia, protesters gathered at Centennial Olympic Park. The city is still reeling from intense protests last week following the police shooting of local activist Manuel Esteban Paez Teran. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency this week, allowing him to call in 1,000 National Guard troops.

In California, about 100 protesters gathered outside a Los Angeles police department, where they were greeted by officers in riot gear, according to the Los Angeles Times. Protesters were also demanding justice for Keenan Anderson, 31, who died in LAPD custody in early January after being repeatedly shocked by police.

Protesters clash with police during a rally against the fatal police assault on Tire Nichols in Los Angeles, California, January 27, 2023.

Qian Weizhong—VCG/Getty Images

Protesters also tore down metal barriers the department had erected, the newspaper reported. Demonstrations also took place in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.

In New York, where more than 200 people gathered near Times Square, at least three protesters were arrested, one of whom jumped on an NYPD vehicle and smashed the windshield, according to NBC. In Washington, DC, protesters also gathered outside the White House. Apart from isolated incidents, protests have been mostly peaceful, but with a heavy police presence, ready and ready to intervene.

People march to protest the death of Tire Nichols in New York, NY, January 27, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago—Getty Images)

People march to protest the death of Tire Nichols in New York, NY on January 27, 2023.

Michael M. Santiago—Getty Images

Protests are expected to continue through the weekend in Memphis and Atlanta. Several other major cities have also scheduled organized rallies, including Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Washington, DC, among others.

Before the video was released and protests began, Nichols’ family urged protesters to remain peaceful. The family also praised law enforcement for moving quickly to fire and charge the officers allegedly involved in Nichols’ death.

“When that tape comes out, it’s going to be awful,” Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said earlier this week, according to the Los Angeles Times. “But I want each of you to demonstrate in peace. If you’re here for me and Tyre, then you’ll protest peacefully.

On Thursday, five Memphis police officers were charged with second-degree murder, along with other misconduct and assault charges. All five officers are black, as are Nichols, but Nichols’ family and activists say the big problem here is racial inequality in traffic check procedures.

Nichols was pulled over and arrested for reckless driving two minutes from his home, according to his mother, but the arrest quickly escalated, with apparently 10 to 12 officers in total at the scene, many watching from the sidelines as Nichols was beaten by officers. . Nichols finally got medical attention that night after complaining that he was short of breath, and an investigation into the officers’ use of force ensued. Nichols died three days later.

The city has a history of police brutality and ensuing activism. The 2015 killing of teenager Darrius Stewart, also during a traffic stop by a Memphis officer, exposed flaws in the system and after months of protesters’ demands, Memphis police began wearing body cameras, like the ones that captured Nichols’ assault.

Today, protesters are demanding even more, like disbanding the SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) unit, which Nichols trained. Critics say SCORPION has failed to reduce crime in the city and mostly patrols low-income areas.

“This isn’t the first time we’ve seen police officers commit and engage in excessive brutal force against unarmed black people in America, yet we’ve never seen justice so swift,” he said. Nichols family attorney Ben Crump said Friday. press gathering.

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