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More NYC Protests Planned in Wake of Memphis Police Beating Video Release



What to Know

  • Tyre Nichols, 29, was stopped in Memphis for alleged reckless driving on Jan. 7; police initially said a confrontation ensued, he ran and another confrontation happened; he ended up in the hospital and died three days later. Condemnation from those who saw the body cam footage has been universal
  • Nichols’ family accused police of beating him so badly he suffered a heart attack and kidney failure; all five fired Memphis officers, all of them also Black, involved in the case are charged with murder
  • Body camera footage of the beating was released Friday, leading police departments across the country to encourage officers to use caution and protect rights to peaceful demonstration

Law enforcement in New York, New Jersey and across the country are expecting a second day of large-scale public action Saturday as protests over 29-year-old Tyre Nichols’ death continue in the wake of the bodycam video release.

New York City protests after the Memphis police footage went public Friday night disrupted traffic in the Grand Central Terminal area and saw chaos hit Times Square, with one protester jumping atop an NYPD cruiser and smashing the windshield. Ultimately, just three arrests were reported as of early Saturday, all of them linked to that vehicle vandalism, and while more numbers may trickle in, early indications are that pleas for peaceful protest were largely heeded.

The largest crowd — one of about 250 — marched through the streets of midtown Manhattan, but apart from traffic headaches, the demonstrations appeared to be organized. The response coincided almost immediately with the Memphis police video release, as protesters swarmed Union Square and the Crossroads of the World in unified angst.

Chants of “No Justice! No Peace!” filled the night air block after block, the crowd’s frustration, pain and anger palpable as many watched the footage on their phones. The national outpouring is bleeding over into the weekend, with Saturday rallies planned in Union Square to Washington Square Park, and other central locations in the five boroughs.

Pop-up demonstrations, of course, are also possible and could result in traffic shutdowns at any time. Events were also planned in New Jersey, including at the Lincoln statue on Newark’s Springfield Avenue, for Saturday.

Warning: Video contains graphic violence that could be disturbing. NBC New York’s Checkey Beckford, Adams Harding and Chris Jose have team coverage.

They come a day after New York’s commanders-in-chief at both the state and city level, along with top NYPD officials, said in no uncertain terms Friday that they supported people’s right to protest in the wake of the release of the body camera footage, which had been condemned universally and emphatically even before the drop.


Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams, asked about potential unrest at an unrelated subway safety briefing earlier Friday, affirmed New York State Police and the NYPD had been strategically briefed and deployed, and were prepared to adapt as necessary to any situations that may evolve later Saturday and over the coming days.

Adams, who during his years as an NYPD officer co-founded an organization that advocated for diversity in policing and against abuses of power, said he “felt betrayed” by the officers charged in the Memphis death of Nichols.

“Any officer who engages in violence and brutality tarnishes all the work we have done to keep communities safe,” he added.” They make it harder for the brothers and sisters in uniform to accomplish the incredible work they do, day in and day out.”

All five police officers have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in Nichols’ death. Those charges were announced a day before the release of the bodycam footage.

(Clips from the footage of Nichols’ arrest can be seen in the video below, which has been edited for time and profanities. Click here to see the full video released by police — Warning: It shows graphic violence that could be disturbing.)

The Memphis Police Department released the video Friday. It includes police body cam footage and footage from a surveillance camera on a pole.


Source: NBC New York

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