Local activists react to released footage of police beating Tyre Nichols


SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- The Memphis Police Department released tragic body camera footage showing the beating death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols at the hands of police. The Memphis police chief said he was "horrified and disgusted" by what he saw.

It shows Nichols getting pulled over by five Memphis officers on Jan. 7, before running. When the officers confronted him again -- it turned violent.

The family has supported the release of the video to the public, while some local activists believe it's too traumatic to watch.

Security camera footage captured Nichols being beaten by police officers, holding him down, repeatedly hitting him with their fists, boots and batons, as he screamed for his mother and pleaded, “I just want to go home.”

The officers, who are also black, chased and pummeled Nichols, leaving him on the pavement propped against a squad car as they fist-bumped and celebrated their actions.

He died three days later in the hospital.

Across the nation, protests sparked from the released footage of police beating, and ultimately killing, Tyre Nichols.

Nichols' family is begging the public to keep any protests peaceful.

Locally, Black Lives Matter South Bend has warned people against watching this video, saying it further traumatizes the Black community.

“…we feel that as a people we’ve seen these instances, these cases, over and over again, and so we understand how real it feels,  so we don’t need to re-traumatize ourselves by watching the video,” said Black Lives Matter South Bend co-founder, Jorden Giger.

Giger said he believes this latest case of police violence should open more conversations about redirecting police budgets to unarmed, alternative public safety entities.

"Black people, so often in our lives, we’ve seen and have had these experiences and so constantly watching these videos that are circulating online or being displayed on television is it sort of promoting black pain, commodifying it, commercializing it,” Giger said. 

Giger said the deadly result of what started as a traffic stop confirms the same fear that may have caused Nichols to run from officers.

“You see on the tv and on social media all of these Black folks, particularly Black men, being murdered by police officers," Giger said. "So, just due to the history of violence connected to policing, many of us just want to flee the situation because we don’t know what the outcome will be.”

All five former officers involved, themselves Black, have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

Statewide activist group, Faith in Indiana, released a statement to stand in solidarity with Nichols' family, and recognize the Memphis Police Department's quick action in firing and charging the officers involved. Faith in Indiana also called for similar accountability from Indiana police and prosecutors.

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