Vigils, protests, disbanded Scorpion Police Unit
Thousands of protesters are expected to gather in Oakland, Calif., for one of many demonstrations and vigils planned across the country on Sunday, two days after video emerged showing Tire Nichols being fatally beaten by Memphis police.
Cat Brooks, executive director of the Anti-Police Terror Project in Oakland, said she was tired of marching but couldn’t help but stand up for her people.
“Black men calling for their moms as they head to the graves come too soon at the hands of the devil whose mom always feared was coming for her baby,” she said in a post on Twitter.
In Milwaukee, Peace Action Wisconsin was among groups sponsoring a march from Red Arrow Park to a local police station.
“The body camera footage is horrifying and impossible to watch,” the band states on its website. “We demand justice for Nichols and all victims of police brutality. We demand police accountability and transparency.”
VIDEO SHOWS TIRE NICHOLS’ VIOLENT BEAT:He died three days later
►Other vigils and protests include events in New Haven, Connecticut; West Chester, Pennsylvania; Springfield, Missouri; Stockton, California; and Anchorage, Alaska.
►The University of Memphis will resume normal hours on Sunday after closing “until further notice” in response to the release of video footage.
►Nichols’ funeral will be held Wednesday at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis.
BEN CRUMP APPLAUSES “SWIFE JUSTICE”:Experts say the speed was “unusual”.
What happened to Tire Nichols?
Memphis police arrested Nichols, 29, for a traffic stop on January 7. The initial police report only stated that a “confrontation” had occurred, that Nichols fled on foot, and that another confrontation then took place. The report says Nichols then complained of shortness of breath.
Nichols was hospitalized in critical condition that night. Three days later he died.
Federal investigators opened a civil rights investigation on January 18. The officers were fired on January 20 and charged with murder and other related crimes.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump applauded the Memphis police chief and county prosecutors for the quick response, calling their efforts “a blueprint for the future.”
Release of a video of the brutal beatings
Video released from body-worn and utility survey cameras shows officers pepper spraying, kicking, punching and beating Nichols while he was restrained, hitting him with a baton and shooting him on it with a taser. Nichols cried out for his mother and to be allowed to go to her neighboring house. Finally, he lay leaning against the side of a stationary police cruiser as officers fussed around him. More than 20 minutes later, an ambulance arrived.
Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis called the incident “heinous, reckless and inhumane”.
Memphis Disbands SCORPION Police Unit
The five officers charged in Nichols’ death are members of SCORPION, or Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, the department confirmed. Antonio Romanucci, attorney for the Nichols family, said SCORPION and other specialist police units are targeting the “most vulnerable” and should be disbanded.
“These are suppression units,” he said. “And what they do is they end up oppressing the people we care about most – our children, our young sons and daughters who are black and brown.”
On Saturday, the unit was banded.