Protests took place Friday night into Saturday morning in cities across the nation after body camera video was released in the killing of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers.
On Thursday, the five black officers were arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
Public reaction to the video ranged from shock to horror as the scenes of struggle between Nichols and the officers confirmed the fears of many.
The video sparked condemnation with public figures saying its time to ask serious questions about violence in America.
Liberal commentator Bill Maher, who hosts Real Time, said the death of a black man at the hands of five black officers shows America’s culture of violence goes deeper than race. “A black man is brutally beaten in Memphis by five cops – they’re all black,” the host said Friday night. “I guess what I’m asking is, America’s culture of violence does go deeper than race, right? I think this mono focus we have on race is short-circuiting us trying to fix some of the real problems.”
The fact the officers were black was not lost on many of the protests, who dropped lines about racist police from their shouted slogans.
While most of those protests were peaceful, the left-wing terrorist group Antifa again led the protests in some cities where they turned violent as documented by social media videos.
In Memphis, roughly several dozen individuals obstructed a busy bridge on I-55, which connects Arkansas and Tennessee across the Mississippi River, causing semi-trucks to accumulate behind them.
In the nation’s capital, a crowd of protesters congregated across from the White House near a plaza named after the Black Lives Matter movement.
In Seattle, a large group of Antifa militants marched downtown chanting “black lives matter” and “say his name,” Rebel News reported. Another video by independent journalist Jonathon Choe shows an Antifa group blocking traffic near Seattle Center, chanting, “no justice, no peace.”
The officers: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith were each charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping resulting in bodily injury, aggravated kidnapping involving possession of a weapon, official misconduct through the unauthorized exercise of power, official misconduct through the failure to act upon a lawful duty, and official oppression.
Nichols, a FedEx driver, passed away three days after the police encounter on Jan. 10. The city of Memphis has released footage from police body cameras and a camera on a utility pole, which showed the traffic stop where Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving.
Police and government officials, as well as Nichols’s mother, have called for protesters to remain peaceful. Meanwhile, authorities in various cities are making preparations for increased security.
“I don’t want us burning up our city, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” said Nichols’s mother, RowVaughn Wells, on Thursday. “If you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.”
President Joe Biden said he was “outraged” and “deeply pained” after watching the Memphis video. He joined Wells in appealing for protesters to stay peaceful.
–Metro Voice and wire services