Tyre Nichols Protest

Protests continued across New York City Saturday afternoon for Tyre Nichols, the latest victim of police violence. Union Square was once again a place of congregation for crowds to call for police reform and accountability; many showed up to support Black Lives Matter, while still more showed up to voice outrage for the second day in a row, following the release of the police body cam footage of the fatal traffic stop. 

Nichols, a 29 year old black man living in Memphis, Tennessee, was stopped by police earlier this month allegedly for driving recklessly. The released footage, which is graphic in nature, shows the five Memphis police officers beating Nichols with batons, fists, and kicks-with much of the battery occurring while the victim was restrained. The officers have since been identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin and Desmond Mills Jr. Two further employees of the Memphis Fire Department have additionally been placed on leave pending an internal investigation into their actions following the incident. Nichols succumbed to his injuries in the hospital three days following his ill-fated traffic stop. 

Nichols’ mother has called for peaceful protests-a sentiment which has been echoed by New York City Mayor Eric Adams and has largely been honored, with the exception of some vandalism during the Friday protests in Times Square. Charges in those cases were brought early Saturday and are expected to continue as more suspects are tracked down. Things took a more positive turn during Saturday’s protests, however, as news dropped that the unit allegedly responsible for Nichols’ beating was disbanded. The unit, entitled SCORPION-an acronym meaning “Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods”-was established as a response to gun violence in Memphis, according to an interview Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis gave to the BBC on Friday. 

Protests are anticipated to continue nationwide as more information becomes available. 

Photos by Bruce Cotler

Story by Emily Cotler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.