Houstonians are standing in solidarity with the family of Tyre Nichols in demanding justice over the 29-year-old’s death.
protesters gathered at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in Houston on Saturday, shouting, “No justice, no peace,” and “shut it down.” The protest comes one day after released video footage showed Nichols, a Black motorist, brutally beaten by five Memphis Police Officers on Jan.7. The gruesome video shows the officers kick, punch, pepper spray and tase Nichols multiple times over the span of several minutes. Nichols did not receive medical care for more than 20 minutes after the end of the attack, even though medical officials were on the scene shortly after the incident began. Nichols would die in the hospital from his injuries three days later.
Officers Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, and Tadarrius Bean have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of official oppression.
Nichols’ death marks another police killing less than a month after 2022 set new records for the deadliest year for police violence in the U.S. According to The Guardian reporter Sam Levin, U.S. law enforcement killed 100 people a month last year.
While Houston police officers watched close by, protestors here demanded justice for Nichols and reflected on the city’s own history with police violence and how his death is similar to so many police brutality instances in the region.
“You might be saying this happened in Memphis, why are we out here in Houston, well because it’s all connected,” Houston branch organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation Vivek Venkatraman said in front of two dozen protestors.
“It very well could have been Houston; in fact has been Houston. It is Houston. And if we don’t do something in the future, it will also be Houston.”
More local law enforcement leaders have spoken against the former Memphis officers’ actions in the body camera footage released to the public Friday.
“I was shocked, horrified, and very disappointed,” says Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan. “I was pleased that the Memphis Police Department took quick action relieving these people.”