Videos Show Peaceful Tyre Nichols Protests Despite Some New York, LA Unrest

Protests took place in cities across the United States on Friday after police bodycam footage was released showing Tyre Nichols being badly beaten by officers at a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee, just days before his death in hospital.

In the video Nichols is repeatedly kicked, punched and pepper sprayed after being stopped by police whilst driving on January 7.

Five police officers have been fired and arrested over the incident, and have been charged with a number of offences including attempted murder. So far, lawyers for two of them have said they intend to plead not guilty.

New York Tyre Nichols protesters
Protesters rally against the fatal police assault of Tyre Nichols, at Times Square in New York City, on January 27, 2023. Demonstrations against Nichols’ treatment took place across the U.S. on Friday, after police bodycam footage was released.

Protesters took to the streets across the country following the footages’ release, with demonstrations taking place in cities including Memphis, New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. Despite fears of unrest they were almost completely peaceful, though one police car had its windscreen smashed in New York, whilst another was vandalized in Los Angeles.

Several hundred marched peacefully in Memphis, chanting slogans such as “the whole damn system is guilty as hell.”

In Washington D.C. dozens gathered in LaFayette Park, where they held up banners reading “end police terror” and chanted slogans.

Hundreds marched through New York where there were some scuffles near Times Square, during which a protestor jumped onto a police vehicle and broke its windscreen before being arrested.

Another police car was attacked by a small group in Los Angeles, with one protester throwing a smoke bomb inside the vehicle. Other protesters in the city lit candles outside the Los Angeles Police Department headquarters

In San Francisco demonstrators marched down Market Street, with banners reading “Justice for Tyre Nichols” and “defund the police.”

Protesters in Seattle, some dressed all in black with their faces covered, marched through the city’s downtown in a demonstration that ended peacefully.

Neighboring Oregon saw dozens of protesters marching in Portland, with the group making its way across Burnside Bridge.

In a statement President Biden backed peaceful protest following Nichols death, but said “violence is never acceptable.”

He said: “Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death. It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.

“My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols’ family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss.”

Legal representatives for two of the former Memphis police officers arrested, Desmond Mills Jr. and Emmitt Martin III, have indicated they intend to plead not guilty to the second-degree murder charge. It is not known how the other three ex-officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley and Justin Smith, plan to plead.

In addition to second degree murder, all five officers are facing charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

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