US protesters are holding marches and rallies this Saturday (28), the day after video was released showing the gruesome beating of Tire Nichols by police officers in Memphis.
Video of police hitting the black man who died earlier this month drew outrage across the country. Protests began late on Friday, with people in several cities taking to the streets and holding up signs with Nichols’s name.
Marches were expected in Memphis, Boston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Athens, Georgia and Columbus, Ohio, among other cities.
Protesters near Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta on Saturday repeated Nichols’ name and demanded justice. They then began to march through the center of the city.
In Memphis, protesters on Friday closed down an Interstate 55 bridge near downtown, chanting, “No justice, no peace,” according to a CNN crew at the scene. There were no arrests stemming from that demonstration, police said.
Prior to the release of the videos, Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, called for peaceful protests.
Memphis City Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas told CNN’s Boris Sanchez on Saturday that prior to the video’s release, there were fears of violent protests due to the police’s lack of accountability in past incidents.
“And I think last night we saw a very peaceful and straightforward protest in the city of Memphis, and I think that’s because maybe we have faith and hope that the system gets it right this time,” Easter said. said Thomas.
Five Memphis officers were fired and charged in Nichols’s death.
In New York, there were skirmishes between several protesters and police as protesters filled Times Square, a video was posted on social media programs.
Three protesters were arrested, one of whom was seen jumping on the hood of a police vehicle and smashing the windshield, the New York Police Department said.
Protesters also gathered in Washington, DC, at Lafayette Square to demand justice for Nichols, according to the social media video.
Along the West Coast, protesters marched in Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, carrying signs that read: “Justice for Tire Nichols” and “murderous cops out of jail.”
Video of the Jan. 7 encounter shows “acts that defy humanity,” Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis warned before the footage was released to the public. Nichols died on January 10.
The arrest begins with a traffic stop for what officers said was reckless driving and continues to show officers beating Nichols with batons, kicking and punching him – including while his hands are pinned behind his body – as the young man screams for his Mom, show the video.
The encounter ends with Nichols lying on the ground in handcuffs, leaning against an unattended police cruiser as officers drive by. Nichols was later hospitalized and died three days later.
The video shows that 23 minutes have passed since Nichols appears subdued and on his back before a stretcher arrives on the scene.
Footage of the violent encounter was released because the Nichols family “want the world to be their witness and feel their pain,” said Shelby County District Attorney Steven Mulroy.
“While nothing we do can bring Tire back, we promise that we are doing everything we can to ensure that the Tire family and our city of Memphis do justice to Tire Nichols,” added Mulroy.
Officers accused of murder
The Memphis Police Department was unable to find anything to prove the probable cause of the reckless driving and said the video of the encounter shows a “disrespect for life, duty of care that we are all sworn to,” Davis said.
Five former Memphis police officers involved in the arrest — who are also black — have been charged with second-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping, according to the Shelby County District Attorney. They were identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin and Desmond Mills Jr.
Two Memphis Fire Department employees who were part of Nichols’s initial care have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
Additionally, two Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies were sidelined pending an investigation after the sheriff viewed the video.
The Memphis Police Association, which represents police officers in the city, expressed condolences to the Nichols family and said it does not condone mistreatment of citizens or abuse of power.
The association said it has “faith in the criminal justice system”.
“It is on that faith that we will rely in the coming days, weeks and months to ensure that the fullest circumstances are revealed,” according to a statement. “The family of Mr. Nichols, the city of Memphis and the rest of the country deserve nothing less. We pray for justice, healing and eventual closure for all involved.”
According to Easter-Thomas, the City Council meeting next week will be “robust”.
Easter-Thomas said he wants to make sure the police department knows the board supports them, but expects officers to do their jobs with the “highest fidelity.”
‘We have to do better, this is unacceptable’
The Memphis police chief compared the video to the 1991 Los Angeles police beating of Rodney King, which sparked days of unrest in the city.
“I was in law enforcement during the Rodney King incident, and it’s very much in line with that same type of behavior,” Davis said.
Nichols family lawyer Ben Crump also made the comparison. “Being assaulted, beaten, punched, kicked, electrocuted, pepper sprayed. It’s very worrying,” he said.
“The only difference between my dad’s situation and now is the hashtags and a sharper camera,” Lora King, Rodney King’s daughter, told CNN. “We have to do better, this is unacceptable.”
“I don’t think anyone in their right mind, anyone who respects humanity is okay with this,” she said, adding that she was sad for Nichols’ family and loved ones. “I’m sad where we are in America, we’re still here. I am in disbelief.”
A protest over Nichols’ death is scheduled for Saturday in Los Angeles.
Martavius Jones, president of the Memphis City Council, was thrilled when discussing the video with CNN’s Don Lemon on Friday.
“This was a traffic stop,” Jones said. “It wasn’t supposed to end like this.”
US Representative Steve Cohen, who represents parts of Memphis, said the video “is impressive to watch”.
“They weren’t there to serve and protect, or even to arrest; they were there to punish and dominate,” he said.
President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and deeply hurt” after viewing the video. “It’s yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, pain and exhaustion that black and brown Americans experience every day.”
Governors across the aisle also expressed outrage over the violent encounter.
Source: CNN Brasil
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