Protesters demand justice for Tyre Nichols at Colorado State Capitol after footage released
“It’s unbearable to hear about another one.”
Dozens of people braved cold temperatures in Denver Saturday evening to gather at the Colorado State Capitol and demand justice for Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police earlier this month.
Memphis officials released video footage of the 29-year-old Black man’s fatal beating Friday, leading to mostly peaceful demonstrations in multiple cities across the country.
That was the case in Denver, where those gathered at the capitol heard from speakers before marching down Colfax Avenue, passing by a police district station and returning to the building.
Lynn Eagle Feather, who was one of the speakers, cried as she spoke to us about her son Paul Castaway who was killed by Denver police in 2015.
“That’s what made me come here tonight. This man called out for his mom,” Eagle Feather said, referring to reports that Nichols called out for his mom who lived nearby from where he was pulled over. “It’s unbearable to hear about another one.”
Bee Alcorn, who is Black, said she is thankful every time she is able to come back home after walking out of the house. She said Black people don’t have that luxury and thinks white people especially take it for granted.
“I get in my car and I have to really think about the way that I’m driving, what I’m doing, where I’m going, and make sure that I get home safe,” Alcorn said. “I have a family. I have people who love me and I want get back home.”
The video is filled with violent moments. It shows the officers, who are also Black, chasing and pummeling Nichols and leaving him on the pavement propped against a squad car as they fist-bump and celebrate their actions.
The footage emerged one day after the officers were charged with murder in Nichols’ death. The officers each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
The chilling images of another Black man dying at the hands of police renewed tough questions about how fatal encounters with law enforcement continue even after repeated calls for change.
The Denver Justice Project on Saturday called for public discourse to extend beyond the narrative that law enforcement has a “few bad apples,” saying that it is instead “a reflection of the pattern and practice that is inherently the racist lineage of policing in America.”
The local organization also acknowledged Nichols’ life and love for skateboarding, photography and the 4-year-old son he leaves behind.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the beating inhumane and appalling in a statement released Friday.
“Americans need to be able to trust those who have chosen to protect them and serve their communities,” Polis stated. “Colorado has taken steps to work toward ensuring law enforcement is well-trained to prevent similar tragedies, and also accountable to the people they serve.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Friday urged protesters to act peacefully.
“The video that was released may cause many of you to be angry and horrified. Justifiably so,” he posted on his social media accounts. “The actions of the officers involved in Tyre Nichols’ death are indefensible.”
Speaking at the White House, President Joe Biden said Friday that he was “very concerned” about the prospect of violence and called for protests to remain peaceful.
Biden said he spoke with Nichols’ mother earlier in the day and told her that he was going to be “making a case” to Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act “to get this under control.” The legislation, which has been stalled, is meant to tackle police misconduct and excessive force and boost federal and state accountability efforts.
Photojournalist Eli Imadali contributed to this story.