Protests explode across US cities after video of Tyre Nichols beating released

Following the release of police bodycam footage showing the beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis that later resulted in his death, protests erupted in cities across the country on Friday, shutting down roads and filling the streets of big cities.

(Video Credit: 11Alive)

Prior to the release of the footage, the Memphis police commissioner warned it showed “acts that defy humanity.”

Approximately 300 protesters in Memphis descended on the Memphis and Arkansas Bridge after the footage was released and shut down all four lanes according to the New York Post. They chanted “Our streets!” and blocked traffic causing a semi-truck to brake just a few feet from them, according to Town Hall.

Protesters then climbed the incline to the upper level of Interstate 55, causing a traffic jam of hundreds of vehicles on the major thoroughfare. They took a stand in front of the cars and trucks, raising their arms in surrender, irritating drivers. “Stand up, fight back,” the protesters chanted on the I-55 bridge according to Fox News.

According to the New York Post, one truck driver just wanted to pass and told the protesters, “Holding up traffic don’t do nothing.” A protester responded, “Then what do we do, bro?”

(Video Credit: Fox News | WARNING: Graphic)

Another off-duty truck driver named Marcus Randolph from Memphis joined the protesters and told the New York Post, “I have to be here for Tyre.”

“The beating of a helpless man. He was in handcuffs. You see the handcuffs? He was in handcuffs the whole time. They kicked him in these handcuffs and he was on the ground with two other officers on top of him,” Randolph charged.

“I was thinking I gotta stand today or it will be my children or grandchildren laying on the ground dying tomorrow if it doesn’t change,” Kim Jackson, a mother of three told the media outlet. She held a sign that declared, “Nothing new. This is what the boys in blue do.”

Nichol’s mother had requested that the protests be kept peaceful.

“It’s going to be horrific, but I want each and every one of you to protest in peace,” RowVaughn Wells said at a vigil for her son on Thursday. “I don’t want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for.”

(Video Credit: Daily Mail)

But some didn’t agree with that sentiment.

“I don’t agree with the family. They call for peaceful protests… but when do we start fighting? When do we take action?” protester and business owner Danny Gatewood asserted. “I pray for the family. But I believe if that happened to my son I wouldn’t be calling for peace. The scripture calls for an eye for an eye.”

Schools, utilities, and the University of Memphis all shut down in anticipation of the protests. Saturday events were also canceled.

Other protests broke out in New York City, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, DC, Portland, and Seattle. Police were prepared for violence to explode over the incident.

The White House held a call with at least 16 city mayors before the video was released “to brief them on federal preparations in support of state and local leaders.”

“Participating mayors shared their perspectives on how important it is to recognize the pain felt by communities across this country, be prepared in advance with a game plan to provide adequate community support, and to reinforce the importance of peace and calm during these difficult moments,” the Biden administration said in a statement.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams advised protesters, “If you need to express your anger and outrage, do so peacefully. The message to the NYPD has been and will continue to be to exercise restraint.”

New York Black Lives Matter leader, Hawk Newsome, warned that violence isn’t off the table according to the New York Post.

A man was photographed standing on top of a smashed police vehicle windshield in New York City.

Police dragged him off the car and arrested him. At least three have been taken into custody as part of the protests, according to NBC New York.

(Video Credit: Daily Mail)

Another protester stood over a police cruiser with a tattered American flag. Antifa has issued a call to arms for protestors to light up New York City, according to the Daily Mail.

A poster shows Antifa calling upon demonstrators to gather at various locations and “Burn It All Down.”

One demonstrator was seen hurling a firework at an LAPD cruiser during a huge march in the city, according to the Daily Mail.

Antifa in Portland is reportedly planning for a “VERY long weekend,” according to author Andy Ngo.

“EVERY SINGLE MURDER caused by police should ignite within us a rage that is unstoppable,” said Antifa member’s message read. “The cops should fear us. We have been too quiet. Too peaceful. Too passive. The fires need to burn.”

Police were out in force in Philadelphia surrounding City Hall Friday as protesters marched in the streets according to KYW.

In Atlanta, where a state of emergency was declared over a radical activist being killed after he shot and critically wounded a police officer, protests erupted but were mostly non-violent.

Memphis’ top cop, Cerelyn Davis, compared her officers’ actions to the notorious beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles cops in 1991.

(Video Credit: Daily Mail)

On Wednesday, Davis said that she expected people “to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, to demand action and results” after seeing the “heinous” footage.

“But we need to ensure our community is safe in this process. None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or our citizens,” she warned.

(Video Credit: Daily Mail)

(Video Credit: Daily Mail)

President Biden also reacted, stating, “Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable. Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.”

The dashcam footage shows Memphis officers pulling Nichols from his vehicle in an attempt to detain him. Officers claim he was driving into oncoming traffic and refused to stop which caused the confrontation. After a struggle, he eventually fled on foot, but officers caught up with him again in a residential neighborhood.

The video shows officers beating Nichols. He was hit with a baton multiple times and repeatedly struck in the head as officers shouted for him to “give us your hands,” while Nichols called for his mother about 100 yards from his home.

Nichols was handcuffed and was leaning up against a police car with his legs extended. He appeared unconscious and slumped to the ground.

He was transported to a hospital in critical condition. Nichols died three days later as a result of a “use-of-force incident with officers,” according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Five police officers involved were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and additional felony charges after being fired.

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