MEMPHIS, Tenn. — From the moment the investigation began, people have been asking for the video of the traffic stop where Tyre Nichols died. Attorneys for the Nichols family describe the video as “heinous.”
Nationwide eyes have been on this case, but the biggest impact has been in Memphis. Throughout the community, calls continue for Justice For Tyre.
“That was just ridiculous, outrageous,” said Rodney Gibbs. “The police just went beyond the call of duty.”
For a lot of Memphians, it’s brought back painful memories of their shared experiences with police brutality.
“This actually happened to my husband years ago. He was beat up by the police and it was Whites against Blacks,” said Yvonne Holt. “So I knew it could happen. So when something like that happens to a loved one, it really, it changes you.”
While some have been waiting, and preparing to watch the video, others were wondering if they will be able to bring themselves to do it.
“Look at George Floyd, completely, I just can’t do it, because as an officer, as a mother, as a citizen, it’s very difficult to even watch it all the way through, so the anticipation of what we may see,” said Mary Evans, who spent 25 years with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. “We should prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.”
With the officers now fired and charged, some people are hoping the protests will not escalate to a dangerous level.
“For the most part that’s usually the reason behind it, so the fact that they’ve been charged, maybe we can avoid a lot of the protests,” said Larry Quinn.
This has also opened the conversation for permanent change to the Memphis Police Department and law enforcement agencies as a whole. Evans has been a big advocate for increasing the frequency of mental health check-ins with officers. She said the psychological aspect of several people in law enforcement changes over the years.
“I was an instructor at the training academy so I’ve an instructor for recruits, but we need to have mental evaluations every five years. ATLEAST!”
Pastor Earle Fisher said Memphis has a long history of peaceful protests, which is what the family of Tyre Nichols, MPD, and activists have asked for in the coming days.