Peaceful protest in Phoenix brings attention to police brutality following Tyre Nichols’ death
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - As people across the country protest Tyre Nichol’s death, a small crowd gathered outside city hall in downtown Phoenix. The rally was organized by the Black Lives Matter Chapter in Phoenix, along with the Phoenix chapter for the Party of Socialism and Liberation.
The protest lasted an hour, with about 100 demonstrators taking part. It was all peaceful, but people’s pain and anger could be heard in their chants, calling for justice. “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now.”
With signs, people stand in solidarity, honoring Nichols’ life. “I know a lot of people are pretty much desensitized at this point to what we see in terms of police violence and I don’t know if the necessarily feel the emotions, hurt, anger and rage we as black people feel,” said Percy Christian, an activist with BLM Phoenix Metro.
He and several others in attendance are calling out the wrong-doings of the five, now fired Memphis officers, who are also black. They are now charged with second-degree murder and other crimes. “Even if they are charged with murder and get sent to prison, that doesn’t fix anything. That doesn’t bring back Tyre Nichols, this doesn’t bring back Rodney King, this doesn’t bring us back Michael Brown,” said Aldo Soberon, with Phoenix Chapter for Party of Socialism and Liberation.
Although Phoenix is over 1,400 miles from where this all took place, the outrage can still be felt. “Another murder at the hands of the ones we pay to protect us,” said Christian. Nichols was stopped by officers in Memphis on Jan. 7 during a traffic stop.
The video shows officers holding down the 29-year-old and repeatedly hitting him as he cried out. He died three days after the brutal beating. “This is going on across our country where people are being beat down by police officers whether they’re back or white, doing this to people. The mentality has to change,” said Leonard Clark, a demonstrator.
The so-called scorpion unit made the arrest, which targets violent offenders in areas with high crime. That unit has been disbanded. “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” people chanted. Many city leaders have spoken out against these officers since the video was released. But protestors today say Phoenix has had its own cases of police shootings that need to be addressed.
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