MEMPHIS: About 50 protesters gathered Friday night (Jan 27) in Memphis, in the southern United States, demanding justice after a video was released showing police violently arresting Tyre Nichols, a young black man who died a few days after the incident.
Waving signs reading “Justice for Tyre” and “End police terror,” they headed to Martyrs Park in the centre of Memphis.
Five police officers have been charged with second-degree murder in the beating of the 29-year-old, who died in a Memphis hospital on Jan 10, three days after being stopped on suspicion of reckless driving.
At 6pm on Friday, the few dozen protesters, chanting “No justice, no peace” managed to block a major road in the city, causing traffic jams.
The procession carried on to a bridge crossing the Mississippi River.
“Whose bridge?!” shouted an activist with a megaphone; “Our bridge” came the reply from the crowd.
Monica Johnson, a community organiser from Atlanta, said it was “sick” that all the accused policemen were also black, an anomaly among recent high-profile killings of black men, which often involve white officers.
“But it doesn’t surprise me, because we’ve seen for years and for decades that black people have – for a check, for their occupation – done the same thing and served the same system of white supremacy and capital,” the 24-year-old said.
She said the protesters demanded “accountability, conviction for all of the cops involved and a stop to the police making those traffic stops where they kill people”.
“For me there is no good cop,” said LJ Abraham, a community organiser in Memphis.
“And so for me, it does not matter what the race of the cop is. They’re hired to protect us and serve s- they’re failing on that across the country, and to say ‘murder’ is the proper word to describe what happened, he was murdered,” she added.