More protests today after release of video depicting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols

Jan 28, 2023, 12:37 PM | Updated: 2:57 pm
Tyre Nichols Protests...
Police officers and protestors clash during a protest on the day of the release of a video showing police officers beating Tyre Nichols, the young Black man who died three days after he was pulled over while driving during a traffic stop by Memphis police officers, in New York, U.S., January 27, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Kelly, Reuters)
(Photo courtesy of Andrew Kelly, Reuters)

(CNN) — Protesters across the US were holding marches and rallies on Saturday, one day after the release of video showing the horrific police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.

The graphic video of police striking the Black man who later died earlier this month drew outrage from across the country. Protests began forming Friday night, with people in several cities taking to the streets and raising signs bearing Nichols’ name.

The Memphis Police Department has deactivated its SCORPION Unit, the task force at the center of Nichols’ death, the department said Saturday.

Saturday’s marches and rallies were expected in Memphis, Boston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Athens, Georgia, and Columbus, Ohio, among other cities. Most will occur in the afternoon or evening.

Protesters near Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta on Saturday repeated Nichols’ name and demanded justice. They then proceeded to march through downtown.

In Memphis, protesters late Friday shut down an Interstate 55 bridge near the downtown area, chanting, “No justice, no peace,” according to a CNN team on the scene. There were no arrests stemming from that demonstration, police said.

Ahead of 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 before the video release, there was a fear of violent protests because of a lack of police accountability in previous incidents.

“And I think last night, we saw a very peaceful and direct sense of protest in the city of Memphis, and I think it’s because maybe we do have faith and hope that the system is going to get it right this time,” Easter-Thomas said.

Five Memphis officers have been fired and charged in Nichols’ death.

In New York, skirmishes broke out between several protesters and police officers as demonstrators crowded Times Square, video posted to social media shows.

Three demonstrators were arrested, one of whom was seen jumping on the hood of a police vehicle and breaking the windshield, the New York Police Department said.

Protesters also gathered in Washington, DC, at Lafayette Square to demand justice for Nichols, according to social media video.

Along the West Coast, protesters marched in Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, carrying signs that read, “Justice for Tyre Nichols” and “jail killer cops.”

Video of the January 7 encounter shows “acts that defy humanity,” Memphis police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis warned before the footage’s release to the public. Nichols died on January 10.

The arrest begins with a traffic stop for what officers said was reckless driving and goes on to show officers beating Nichols with batons, kicking him and punching him — including while his hands are restrained behind his body — as the young man cries out for his mother, video shows.

The encounter ends with Nichols slumped to the ground in handcuffs, leaning against a police cruiser unattended as officers mill about. Nichols was later hospitalized and died three days later.

Video shows that 23 minutes had passed from the time Nichols appears to be subdued and on his back on the ground before a stretcher arrives on the scene.

Footage of the violent encounter was released because Nichols’ family “want the world to be their witness and feel their pain,” Shelby County District Attorney Steven Mulroy said.

“While nothing we do can bring Tyre back, we promise you that we are doing all we can to ensure that Tyre’s family, and our city of Memphis, see justice for Tyre Nichols,” Mulroy added.

Officers charged with murder

The Memphis Police Department has been unable to find anything that substantiates the probable cause for reckless driving and said video of the encounter shows a “disregard for life, duty of care that we’re 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’ initial care were relieved of duty, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Also, two deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office have been put on leave pending an investigation after the sheriff viewed the video.

The Memphis Police Association, which represents city police officers, expressed condolences to the Nichols family and said it does not condone the mistreatment of citizens or abuse of power.

The association said it has “faith in the criminal justice system.”

“That faith is what we will lean on in the coming days, weeks, and months to ensure the totality of circumstances is revealed,” according to a statement. “Mr. Nichols’ family, 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 she wants to ensure the police department knows the council supports them but expects officers to do their jobs with the “utmost fidelity.”

‘We have to do better, this is unacceptable’

The Memphis police chief likened the video to the 1991 Los Angeles police beating of Rodney King that sparked days of unrest in the city.

“I was in law enforcement during the Rodney King incident, and it’s very much aligned with that same type of behavior,” Davis said.

Nichols family attorney Ben Crump also made the comparison. “Being assaulted, battered, punched, kicked, tased, pepper sprayed. It is very troubling,” he said.

“The only difference between my father’s situation and now is hashtags and a clearer camera,” Rodney King’s daughter Lora King told CNN. “We have to do better, this is unacceptable.”

“I don’t think anybody in their right mind, anybody that respects humanity is OK with this,” she said, adding that she’s saddened for Nichols’ family and loved ones. “I’m just sad for just where we are in America, we’re still here. I am in disbelief.”

A protest over Nichols’ death is set for Saturday in Los Angeles.

Martavius Jones, the chair of the Memphis City Council, was emotional 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 Rep. Steve Cohen, who represents parts of Memphis, said the video “is overwhelming to watch.”

“They were not there to serve and protect, or even to apprehend; they were there to punish and dominate,” he said.

President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and deeply pained” after seeing the video. “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.”

Governors from across the aisle have also expressed outrage over the violent encounter.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Gov. Brad Little signed a bill this week that prohibits transgender students in the state from usin...
Sydney Kashiwagi, CNN

Idaho governor signs bill that restricts transgender students’ bathroom use in schools

Idaho governor Gov. Brad Little signed a bill this week that prohibits transgender students in the state from using public school bathrooms that do not align with their gender assigned at birth.
1 day ago
Members of the police work, after two migrants suffocated to death aboard a freight train that got ...

Two migrants found dead in shipping container on train in Uvalde County, Texas

Two migrants were found dead in a shipping container on a train the authorities stopped east of Uvalde, Texas, on Friday, according to local police.
1 day ago
tiktok logo pictured, a possible ban is looking...
Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business

Where TikTok users may go if the app gets banned

Washington's efforts to crack down on TikTok could ultimately benefit some of the same American tech companies that Washington has scrutinized.
1 day ago
mortgage rates...
Anna Bahney, CNN

What the banking crisis means for mortgage rates

When Treasury yields go up, so do mortgage rates; when they go down, mortgage rates tend to follow.
1 day ago
FILE - A TV screen shows an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the S...
Brad Lendon and Yoonjung Seo, CNN

North Korea claims to have tested a nuclear-capable underwater drone

North Korea's drone test claim comes at the same time Pyongyang said it tested nuclear-capable cruise missiles this week.
2 days ago
An off-duty pilot stepped in to help after a Southwest pilot became ill during a flight, the airlin...
Pete Muntean, CNN

Off-duty pilot on Southwest flight steps in to help after pilot suffers in-flight medical emergency

After safely returning to Las Vegas, a backup crew boarded and the flight continued to Columbus as planned.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
More protests today after release of video depicting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols