After the Memphis Police Department in Tennessee released footage Friday night of five officers fatally beating 29-year-old Black man Tyre Nichols, peaceful protests began forming around the U.S.
Reporter Chris Fox spoke on WCBS Radio while standing on Interstate 55 Friday. He said the roadway was shut down for a few hundred protestors.
“You can hear them chanting ‘say his name,’ Tyre Nichols,” said Fox, who saw protesters carrying Black Lives Matter signs.
He said that the protest was lined up for miles and that there was “no police presence whatsoever, which is kind of interesting,” at the peaceful demonstration, adding that law enforcement may have had a stronger presence closer to downtown Memphis.
“The objective here – they’re chanting ‘you took our lives, we take your money,’” said Fox.
Police can be heard shouting profanities at Nichols before pulling him from his vehicle in the footage, which Audacy provided here. Viewer discretion is advised. Body cam footage from the officers also depicts Nichols being yelled at to get on the ground although he was already on the ground.
Officers stopped Nichols, a FedEx worker and father, Jan. 7 allegedly for reckless driving. However, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said that charge was unfounded.
Roger Stern of 1010 WINS reported Friday night that a group of protesters had started gathering in Times Square. He said said these groups were also peaceful and that they believe “the policing system is racist,” and that the fact that the cops who beat Nichols to death were Black doesn't matter.
Stern did not identify the protestors as Black Lives Matter protestors, but the organization said something similar in a Friday statement.
“Although the media has spent a great amount of time drawing attention to the fact the police officers are Black, as if that is important, let us be clear: ALL Police represent the interest of capitalism and impel state-sanctioned violence,” it said. The organization also called for defunding of the police, an end to traffic stops and removal of police from traffic interactions.
“What I heard in that video, that is not police work, that’s – that’s hate,” said Dr. Lisa Hill California State University East Bay in an interview with San Francisco’s KCBS Radio.
NBC News was tracking protests across the nation as they continued Saturday.
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