“Responses” and “actions”: around 50 demonstrators gathered Friday evening in Memphis, in the south of the United States, to demand justice after the publication of the video showing the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols, a young African-American who died a few days later.
• Read also: America in shock over video of Tire Nichols’ fatal arrest
• Read also: Five police officers charged with murder after the brutal arrest of an African American
• Read also: Tyre Nichols’ mother accuses police of beating her son ‘like a piñata’
“What are you going to do,” asks a protester armed with a megaphone at “Martyrs’ Park” in central Memphis, addressing the city’s police chief.
The images of the arrest of Tire Nichols, 29, show the violence inflicted for long moments by the five black police officers, in the wake of a banal traffic stop in this large city in the state of Tennessee, on January 7 .
From 6:00 p.m. Friday evening, the few dozen demonstrators set off to cries of “No justice, no peace”.
They quickly manage to block a major axis of the city, causing major traffic jams.
“If we decided to come there tonight, it is first of all because the family (of Tire Nichols) told us that if we demonstrated, we had to do it peacefully”, declares LJ Abraham, an associative activist from Memphis.
The procession continues on its way to a bridge spanning the Mississippi River and also blocks traffic there on its four lanes.
For David Stacks, a resident of Memphis who came to demonstrate, the death of Tire Nichols “should bring everyone together, and open their eyes” to the African-American population.
“It’s more important than what happens in the neighborhoods and across the city,” said the 38-year-old black business owner.
The demonstrators present do not all come from Memphis, some came from neighboring states, prior to the publication of the video.
For Monica Johnson, a 24-year-old activist from Atlanta, it is now important that the police “be accountable” and that all the officers involved are convicted.
“We demand the dismantling of the Scorpion unit” involved in the beating of Tire Nichols, she said.
Despite the unrest expected by the authorities at the time of the publication of the video, downtown Memphis remains calm, and businesses open.
In the morning, a few police patrolled on horseback, but it was mostly tourists who mainly roamed the streets of the world capital of the blues.
Robert Walters, an African-American musician, came to Memphis to judge a blues competition.
But faced with the prospect of some unrest, the 67-year-old retired military man had decided to leave before the video was published.
“These days, you’d be right to think things like that can’t happen,” he says of the brutal arrest of Tire Nichols.
“I am a black man in America. And that fear is still something my son and I grew up with,” he adds.
The fact that the police officers involved are African-American “hurt” him, and represents for him a “strong disappointment”.
“It shows that anyone can fall into this trap of lust for power,” says Robert Walters, before concluding: “It shouldn’t happen. Point.”
Leave a Reply