Dozens of Orlando residents gathered at Lake Eola Park Saturday evening in honor of Tyre Nichols
Dozens of people gathered Saturday night near the Muse of Discovery in Lake Eola Park to remember Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man who was killed by Memphis police on January 7. They lit electric candles in his honor.
People all over the U.S. held vigils and protests after a body camera video showed Nichols being brutally beaten by five police officers while being held down. Nichols had been stopped for driving too fast and was being held down when the video was taken. Nichols died of his injuries three days after he was hurt.
Five officers were fired on January 20 and charged with murder. A sixth officer was fired on Friday, and the specialized unit they were part of was dissolved. According to the Washington Post, Nichols is one of at least seven unarmed people who have been killed by police so far in 2023. This comes after Mapping Police Violence found that police killed a record number of civilians in 2018.
Even though the officers charged with killing Nichols are Black, U.S. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost, who attended the vigil, said that “doesn’t mean that this didn’t come from the root cause of white supremacy.”
Frost said, “There is nothing more racist than Black people killing each other because they are part of a system.” “And we have to figure out what it all means. It’s not about making people feel bad; it’s about learning about our past so we can fix the present.”
Politicians, community leaders, and some heads of law enforcement all spoke out against the video of Nichols’ killing. Frost said that he cried when he saw the video at an airport. Since then, he has spoken out against police brutality many times.
“I hate to say this, but it’s so important to understand: there’s no justice for people who have already died,” he said. “The only way we can do right by Tyre is to make sure that it never happens to anyone else again.”
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Nichols was laid to rest on Wednesday. His family talked about how happy, kind, and creative he was. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, he had moved from California to Memphis to live with his mother, with whom he was close.
On the video of him dying, he could be heard calling for his mother, who lived just a few minutes away from where he was beaten.
“Just like everyone else, Tyre was a living human being … Keten Abebe, who spoke at the vigil and is president of Black Leaders of Tomorrow at University High School, where she is a senior, said, “He was helpless and calling for his mother with his last breath.”
People at the vigil held up candles and chanted Nichols’s name, as well as the names of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police officers, and George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer led to street protests all over the country, even though there was a pandemic.
The vigil was also a call for more changes to be made to stop police brutality. State Rep. Anna Eskamani said she was in favor of making it a crime for police officers who don’t stop people from using too much force and funding mental health services to answer some calls instead of police.
She said, “This system is criminally broken, but don’t just show up at vigils.” “Come to Tallahassee, attend committee meetings, and help set things up. We have the power to change it, but we have to find that power in ourselves.”