Group holds vigil for Tyre Nichols in Charleston: ‘they made my skin crawl’
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Community members gathered in Marion Square Sunday evening to hold a vigil for the lives of two people who died after fatal encounters with law enforcement.
A group of around 20 people attended despite the rain to remember the lives of Tyre Nichols and Tortuguita in downtown Charleston.
Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving on Jan. 7. Five Memphis police officers beat him and inflicted injuries that led to his death three days later; video of the incident was released to the public on Friday.
Tortuguita was an environmental activist that was killed on Jan. 18 by Georgia authorities after officials say the 26-year-old shot a state trooper.
One vigil attendee, Tom Billy, claimed the problems with police brutality in Memphis are a reflection of police departments across the county.
“I came here today to show support my disgust with Memphis Police Department and how to handle the situation with Tyre Nichols, and how aggressive they really were,” Billy says. “I’ve seen the body cams, and every angle was disgusting to me. They made my skin crawl the moment they grabbed him off the vehicle.”
As for the future, Lavender Stonewall, another vigil attendee, says the human rights issues that America needs to be concerned about are police brutality and police violence.
“It’s really important to fight against sanctioned state violence, and it’s important to build a future where this doesn’t happen,” Stonewall says. “As for the future, what you hope, is to make this hopefully not an ongoing issue in America; the only way is for the police to stop killing people.”
The Sunday evening vigil came after additional protests took place over the weekend in major cities throughout America. Many reacted to the video of Nichols’ fatal encounter, which showed the unarmed Black man being beaten by five Memphis police officers.
All five of the cops are now facing criminal charges.
“Seeing that happen to someone like that hit me on like, a personal level,” Billy says. “You can really just be enjoying your day, or just getting off work, and literally by mistake, or for no reason at all be a target of police brutality because of the way that you look.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has said Tortuguita was killed by officers after shooting and wounding a state trooper, but activists have questioned officials’ version of events, calling it a “murder” and demanding an independent investigation.
According to the GBI, the incident was not recorded on body cameras.
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