A small group of protesters have gathered at City Hall to denounce the brutal beating and death of Tyre Nichols.
Nichols was pulled over by police January 7, for an alleged traffic violation, according to accounts his family would give later. A confrontation ensues, and he is brutally beaten by five Memphis police officers in an encounter that is recorded by police body cameras.
Memphis Police released bodycam footage Friday night, showing various angles of the violent encounter.
After investigators viewed the footage earlier this month, the five officers involved in the case were fired and later charged with second-degree murder.
In protest of the brutality Nichols faced, the group gathered at City Hall just prior to the 7 p.m. release of the Memphis police footage.
A group calling themselves The Party for Socialism and Liberation was in charge of the City Hall gathering. Their purpose was to demand justice for Nichols and to call for an end to “police terror.”
“I think the mood is very frustrating and enraged, but also sad. I mean, someone lost their life at the hands of police,” said Talia Giles. She’s one of the organizers and says she’s not sure if she’ll watch the video.
“Part of the reason why we’re out here is because of the fact that the video is going to show quite a disgusting disregard for human life and it’s going to be quite gut-wrenching, I’m sure of that,” she said.
The crowd held signs demanding an end to what they say is police terror and pleading for a stop to the war on Black America.
“As a way of showing respect for Tyre and anyone who has been a victim of police terror, whether they’re alive or whether they’ve passed away that we have not forgotten them,” said Giles.
Jamal Johnson, the founder of Stop Killing Us, held that unforgettable and disturbing picture of Nichols in the hospital.
“I think we need to watch the video and we need to remember how horrific all these killings are that are being done by police or anyone. Because if we don’t, we are digging our head in the sand and that’s not going to help us to stand up against this oppression,” said Johnson, who is a well-known Philly anti-violence activist and Marine veteran. He’s leaving for Memphis on Tuesday to attend the funeral for Nichols.
“It’s unfortunate it’s happening, but I hope to go there and support those including the family and Memphis and come back here with the zeal that hopefully we can do something about the killing by police and each other,” Johnson added.
After speaking a few minutes at City Hall, the group took to the streets, marching around City Hall to Walnut Street.