Atlanta protests remain peaceful after release of Tyre Nichols videos
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Video has now been released of the beating of a man named Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. Nichols died a few days after the beating and 5 Memphis police officers have been charged. People in cities all over the country gathered Friday to protest what happened to Nichols, including in Atlanta.
RELATED: GRAPHIC: Memphis authorities release video showing police officers beating Tyre Nichols
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum released the following statement:
The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement:
“The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is saddened by the tragedy that resulted in the death of Mr. Tyre Nichols. We send our heartfelt prayers and sincerest condolences to the family, friends, and close associates of Mr. Nichols.
The actions that occurred on January 7th are unacceptable and do not reflect law enforcement standards and procedures. Although this incident took place in another state, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office acknowledges the hurt, anger, and distress it has caused.
Our agency remains committed to building a healthy and trusting relationship between our deputies and the communities they serve. We respect the First Amendment rights of all Gwinnett County citizens, and fully support peaceful protests. To ensure the safety of the community, we will maintain an open line-of-communication and provide necessary updates for awareness.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Staff Michael Carr at 770.822.3841 or the Community Outreach Section at GCSOCommunityOutreach@gwinnettcounty.com.”
The King Center released the following statement:
“The King Center mourns the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police. We mourn with his family as they witnessed, via video, the brutal, dehumanizing beating that caused his death after a simple traffic stop.
Time and again, our nation reckons with radicalized police violence towards predominantly Black and Brown people. This traumatizing reality must be confronted and changed.
Human beings deserve to be treated with respect, including by police officers who wield weapons and inhumanely weaponize their positions.
Even as Nichols was fighting for his life, the officers and first responders ignored the clear signs indicating that he needed medical assistance. This reprehensible behavior took his dignity and subsequently his life.
This is a deeply rooted cultural and systemic issue that cannot be solved by good thoughts and well-wishes. We must employ a Beloved Community Mindset to transform and, in some cases, deconstruct, these unjust systems that continue to devastate families and communities.
We call for justice, which is a component of true peace. Justice not only includes accountability for the officers who beat and killed Nichols, but must also entail accountability for the system which consistently perpetuates this violence.”
“It’s because millions of millions of people took to the streets and demanded that these cops be put away, that’s why George Floyd’s killers were put away, that’s how these killers are going to be put away.. all killer cops belong behind bars,” said protestor Addison Clapp.
“I watched the video tonight absolutely horrendous, disgusting I mean it just shows how inhumanely the police treat people in the streets I mean they were just beating down on this innocent man, unarmed like he was a nobody like he had no dignity absolutely horrendous,” said Satya Vatti.
Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-G.A., has released the following statement:
“The horrific killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis has once again shaken the nation’s conscience. Mr. Nichols and his family deserve justice.”Those who are sworn to protect and serve must be held to the highest standards of accountability. Whether on our streets or in our prisons and jails, brutal disregard for human rights offends the principles enshrined in our Constitution. I continue to call for Federal legislation to establish national standards for the use of force by law enforcement.”I call on all engaged in protest to remain peaceful.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens released the following statement:
“Once again, we bear witness to a horrific act—a vile and brutal attack of a young unarmed Black man in America by officers who were sworn to serve and protect. I know I am not alone in my feelings of sickness and anger in the attack on Mr. Tyre Nichols. I grieve with my community, and my heart goes out to Mr. Nichols’ family.
“I am encouraged by the swift action taken by Memphis leaders to seek accountability from those responsible, and that these former officers have been charged. I spoke with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland this week, and I believe he is personally committed to justice in this case and healing in his city.
“The Atlanta Police Department has taken great strides in recent years to fully implement vital policing reforms, and that work continues. Still, as this act of utter brutality in Memphis shows us, we must stay vigilant and continue to train our officers to the highest standards.
“I have asked Chief Schierbaum, Chief Smith and Chief Dancy to review this video and case with the command and training staffs of the Atlanta public safety departments. We must use this moment to learn, to end these unspeakable acts of violence.
“To those who are called to lift their voices and demonstrate: know that the City of Atlanta and our public safety agencies are prepared to support peaceful protest in our city. I am a firm proponent of full participation, community dialogue and peaceful demonstration. I ask for peace, and your partnership to not allow agitators to try to co-opt non-violent protest and put people in harm’s way.
“In Atlanta, we have robust processes in place to report and investigate allegations of police misconduct. If you have witnessed or experienced misconduct, you can report it either through ATL311 or to the Atlanta Citizen Review Board.”
Gov. Brian Kemp released the following statement:
“Marty, the girls, and I were truly shaken and deeply saddened by the footage of events that led to Tyre Nichols’ tragic death. We are praying for his family and community during this time of heartbreak. As citizens express their grief and reactions to his killing, the state continues to respect the right of peaceful protest.”
National civil rights leader Markel Hutchins issued the following statement:
“Like many Americans, I am absolutely horrified by the brutality displayed in the body camera video released moments ago by the Memphis Police Department. My prayers are with the family and friends of Mr. Tyre Nichols.
My thoughts and prayers are also with the people of Memphis. The tragic death of Mr. Nichols at the hands of Memphis police officers could well be the gravest atrocity the city has endured since the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. nearly 55 years ago. Mr. Nichols death, one of the most troubling police-involved killings in recent history, should persuade Americans of every race, ideology, and political perspective, that our nation continues to struggle to ensure justice and equality for all. Today, residents in communities throughout the United States have a pronounced sense of disquiet about their own security.
As a civil rights leader who works hand-in-hand with law enforcement agencies to bridge divides between cops and communities across the country, it is deeply troubling that a handful of officers contradict the thousands of officers who serve their communities with honor, respect, and care. Our organization works in partnership with the Memphis Police Department, the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, and every major national law enforcement association to improve police-community relations via the largest and most consolidated police-community outreach effort in American history – National Faith & Blue Weekend (Faith & Blue). The killing of Mr. Nichols undermines our tireless efforts and those of law enforcement organizations in every state that are working to repair fractured relationships between cops and communities. Still, moments and tragedies like this should cause every law enforcement agency, civil & human rights group, faith-based and community organization, state legislatures, the United States Congress, and all of us to redouble our efforts to build deep ties that prevent bias, reduce misunderstanding, and enable officers and residents to see each other’s humanity. This is the only way we can prevent tragedies like that of Mr. Tyre Nichols.
I have known and worked closely with Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis for more than two decades since her days as an officer here in Atlanta, Georgia. In fact, I served as a professional reference for her when she sought her first job as a police chief. I commend her for responding with conviction to the killing of Mr. Nichols, and for reaching out to residents, community leaders, and officers with compassion and support. She has the courage, integrity, and experience required to lead the Memphis Police Department and all of America through this crisis with an unwavering commitment to truth, transparency, and justice.
It is my hope and prayer that Memphis and cities across the country will embrace the ethos of the ultimate sacrifice that Dr. King made on April 4, 1968, by choosing non-violence and solution-focused action. May God have mercy on the souls of the officers that killed Mr. Nichols, ‘But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.’”
As of 8 p.m., approximately 40 people are gathered in downtown Atlanta. So far, the protest has been peaceful.
Protests are planned for Friday night at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta in response to the release of the video related to Tyre Nichols beating and death in Memphis, Tennessee.
Law enforcement has already started to gather in the downtown area and officials will be keeping a close eye on the protests. Additionally, the National Guard is currently on standby in the area in case they need to be activated.
On Friday afternoon, multiple law enforcement officials gathered in Cobb County for a press conference urging residents of the community to peacefully protest and City of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens sent a letter to city employees saying he supports the right of people to protest and that the city had no plans to make changes to its operational schedule at this time.
Additionally, Mayor Dickens released a video on Instagram to express his thoughts on the situation in Memphis.
Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat has also condemned the actions of the Memphis police officers, saying there are “absolutely no excuses to be made for the horrific actions that will be seen on the video,” which is set to be released at approximately 7 p.m.
On Friday afternoon, businesses along Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta were busy boarding their windows and doors just in case the planned protests turned violent.
Atlanta’s police chief took time yesterday during a graduation ceremony to tell new officers about the importance of rebuilding the community’s trust.
Atlanta has a deep-rooted history of non-violent protests and there are a lot of groups speaking out for peace, including the New Order National Human Rights Organization.
Founder Gerald Rose says their organization focuses on meeting police chiefs in person across metro Atlanta to have meaningful conversations about changes.
“We’re just trying to be the voice for the people because when things go down like this, we don’t want people to tear nothing up, rioting and stuff like this,” said Rose.
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