MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It continues to be a fight for justice — over a week since a simple traffic stop sent Tyre Nichols to the hospital in critical condition. Two protests broke out across Memphis over just a couple of hours on Tuesday.
Protestors first crashed Mayor Jim Strickland’s MLK breakfast at City Hall, followed by a larger one at the National Civil Rights museum.
In a statement Mayor Strickland said “Make no doubt, we take departmental violations very seriously and, while we must complete the investigation process, it is our top priority to ensure that swift justice is served, we want citizens to know that we are prepared to take immediate and appropriate actions based on what the findings determine.”
Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said additional administrative actions against the responding officers would be released by the end of the week.
Still, the family of Nichols is saying this is not enough — they need action now. Chants echoe the sentiment “No Justice, No Peace!”
“We will not accept what you have done,” Paula Buress said.
Protestors are calling for more transparency from MPD and harsher punishment for the officers involved, including termination from MPD and legal action.
“We will settle for nothing less than a murder charge,” said Rodney Wells, Tyre’s Step-Father.
Nichols was hospitalized after a MPD traffic stop on Jan. 7 and passed away a few days later. It was a moment that left Nichols’ loved ones in tears and his mother unable to move for days according to family members.
“Our family will never be the same because of a cruel act over a traffic stop and it’s just a nightmare,” said Keyana Dixon, Tyre’s Sister.
Family and protestors are also asking for more information from the city of Memphis and MPD, including the police body camera footage during and after Nichols’ arrest.
“You have all of the body cam footage, there is a SkyCop right above the incident right where it happened — you have all of the video footage,” said Kareem Ali of Ben Crump Offices, “Tyre was a man, Tyre was a black man, Tyre was a beautiful black man.”
The family of Nichols will be retaining the legal services of civil rights and personal injury firm led by Ben Crump.
In a statement Crump said “All of the available information tells us that this was the tragic and preventable death of a young man deeply beloved by his family and community. This kind of in-custody death destroys community trust if agencies are not swiftly transparent. The most effective way for the Memphis Police Department to be transparent with the grieving Nichols family and the Memphis community is to release the body camera and surveillance footage from the traffic stop. Nobody should ever die from a simple traffic stop — the footage is the only way to discern the true narrative of why and how that happened to Tyre.”
The law firm is expected to hold a press conference to continue the conversation on Monday, Jan. 23.
A tribute is being planned for Nichols at his favorite skatepark in California while demonstrators in Memphis will continue to keep their eyes out for justice.
“It is our unity in the city of Memphis that will end police tyranny and end police justice….Say no more!” said Ali.