‘We’re tired of being beaten’: protesters across US call for justice for Tyre Nichols

After video of the brutal beating was released, people gathered to decry the violence and abuse of power

  • This article contains video depicting physical violence

Protests were taking place in multiple US cities after police released footage of Tyre Nichols’ fatal beating at the hands of Memphis police.

The video released late Friday shows several Memphis officers kicking Nichols repeatedly in the head, punching him in the face, and hitting him with a baton.

Officers and medical personnel failed to intervene after the attacks left Nichols unable to sit upright. Five of the involved officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder.

The protests remained largely peaceful throughout the night on Friday, and there were more protests taking place on Saturday and planned for the coming days.

Protestors in Memphis, where the fatal beating took place, poured onto Interstate 55, a highway that connects Tennessee and Arkansas, on Friday night to express their outrage at the video and ongoing excessive force used by Memphis police.

Nyliayh Stewart, 24, joined protestors and discussed the killing of her cousin by a white Memphis police officer during a traffic stop.

Demonstrators gather near the White House in Washington DC to protest.
Demonstrators gather near the White House in Washington DC to protest. Photograph: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

“This should not have happened,” said Stewart. “This family should not have to bury him. My family should not have had to bury my cousin.”

In New York, dozens of protestors gathered in Times Square after the video’s release, decrying the brutal beating and police brutality at large. “What’s his name? Tyre! Say his name. Tyre!” the demonstrators chanted while holding up signs.

At least one person was arrested for allegedly attempting to smash a police car’s windshield. Two more were arrested during the demonstrations, but official charges are still pending, according to a report from ABC News 7.

A man, his fist raised in the air, walks along a busy street filled with cars and other people.
In New York City, people demonstrated in Times Square after video of the fatal police beating was released. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Demonstrators also met in the city’s Union Square and Grand Central terminal, which police limited access to given the expected protests.

Several smaller groups in Chicago hosted rallies and vigils in response to the brutal video, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Groups of 10 to 20 people held peaceful demonstrations in front of the Chicago police department headquarters in the Bronzeville neighborhood and in several other communities. “We’re tired of being murdered, tired of being beaten, tired of being chased,” said Rabbi Michael Ben Yosef, who joined demonstrators in front of the department headquarters, according to ABC 7 Chicago.

Nearly 100 people rallied in Washington DC’s Lafayette Square in response to the video.

There’s a small protest at LaFayette Park in Washington, DC.

Crowd gathered — 50-60 people—
remains peaceful with activists taking turns on the loudspeaker.

Chants of “no justice, no peace” ring out periodically. pic.twitter.com/Ct79RG5kWV

— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) January 28, 2023

Dozens of protestors also marched in Philadelphia’s Center City, as organizers spoke out against the video and police violence.

“It’s absolutely disgusting,” said Talia Giles, an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, during a speech at Friday’s demonstration.

“It shows the complete and utter disregard for human life. It shows the fact that police, no matter what their race is, are going to terrorize people because that’s what the system is meant to do. It’s meant to abuse its power against citizens.”

People wearing heavy coats, hats and scarves hold signs.
People brave the snow, heavy winds and freezing temperatures in Detroit, Michigan, to protest the killing of Tyre Nichols. Photograph: Matthew Hatcher/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

About 100 people gathered outside the Los Angeles police department headquarters to protest following the released footage.

The protest was borne out of a candlelight vigil that was taking place, where attendees burned sage and played audio from the video clips of officers fatally beating Nichols, reported the Los Angeles Times.

In Portland, more than 100 protesters gathered to decry the video and the routine pattern of police brutality against Black people.

“Why did it happen again? why is it still happening? why is it happening again? why is it happening now?” said a protestor, according to KGW8.

Protesters marched in Atlanta on Saturday following a night of protests shortly after the released video.

Protests continue in Atlanta after Memphis Police release #TyreNichols body cam video pic.twitter.com/bJpQ7DYylc

— Olivia LaBorde (@OliviaLaBorde) January 28, 2023

Despite peaceful protests, Republican governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Thursday and authorized the deployment of as many as 1,000 National Guard troops in light of the released video.

The declaration also came following protests in Atlanta over a controversial police training center that would bulldoze one of the city’s largest green spaces.

Organizers in Newark, New Jersey held a rally and march at 12.00pm to condemn the beating of Nichols.

“The message that we want to get out is that police brutality must stop. This problem continues to grow,” said Lawrence Hamm, chairman of People’s Organization for Progress, to News 12 New Jersey.

Activists also gathered to protest the decision of a grand jury this week to not indict a Newark police officer who fatally shot Carl Dorsey, a Black man.

New York organizers planned additional protests throughout Saturday.

Street Riders NYC, an activist group, held a bike ride in light of the release video.

A march demanding justice for Nichols has also been planned for 5.00pm in New York’s Washington Square park.

Civil rights leaders have spoken about the footage, calling out repeated instances of police brutality against Black people.

In a statement shared Saturday, Reverend Al Sharpton spoke about yet another example of police brutality against a Black man.

“Once again, we are forced to watch another horrific video of cops using brutal force to kill a Black man,” said Sharpton, who will be speaking at a rally on Saturday.

“Nearly three years after the murder of George Floyd shook the world, here we are.”

Gloria Oladipo

The GuardianTramp

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