Tyre Nichols remembered, honored during Phoenix protest: 'Sick and tired'
PHOENIX - Those wanting to show solidarity and mourn the loss of Tyre Nichols came out to the old Phoenix City Hall building footsteps on Saturday, a day following the release of the hard-to-watch body cam footage of his beating by police.
The five disgraced Memphis Police Department officers, who are also Black, have been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in Nichols’ death three days after the arrest. The video renewed questions about how fatal encounters with law enforcement continue even after repeated calls for change.
The "Justice for Tyre Nichols Protest" began to form just after 5 p.m. It was a small but powerful group of voices with a megaphone.
MORE: Tyre Nichols death: Arizona leaders react to bodycam video showing beating that led to man's death
"Knowing that he laid there for 22 minutes. What does it take?" a protester said, making comparisons to George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis in 2020.
"Just two years ago what did we see? 7 minutes and how many seconds?"
They shared their own incidents about police encounters.
"I know what it’s like to be passed around like a hot potato by the police. It was hard for me to watch Tyre go from one police officer punching him, to another police officer hitting him with his baton, to another police officer kicking him in his head," a protester said.
Others at the podium gave speeches that touched on not just encounters with law enforcement, but how often Black lives are lost to violence and that change is imminent.
"Tyre Nichols, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, these are not names that we should have to know. There are too many names to count."
"Sick and tired of waking up every day and seeing yet another name yet another life taken from us, unfairly."
The protest remained peaceful throughout the night – just as Nichols' family wanted.
Reaction from leaders and activists around Arizona about Nichols' death poured in.
Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs
There are no words when these unnecessary and unjust deaths occur at the hands of law enforcement, and I share in the outrage and horror that is felt.
Tyre Nichols was a 29-year-old father and he deserved to grow old and watch his child grow up. I send my deep condolences to his family and the Memphis community at this time.
We need accountability when law enforcement officers violate their oaths, and we need to restore the public’s trust in the institution. I’m committed to solutions that center public safety and take a holistic approach to the community safety interventions available to address crime and people in need of help.
As we respond to the police footage, I want to echo the call of Tyre’s mother for protests to remain peaceful.
East Valley NAACP President Kiana Maria Sears
"It’s still so visceral. I'm a mother. I have brothers. Obviously I have a father, so when I look at that, it's just so close to home. As the NAACP, we are calling for the stop to all police brutality. We are tired of dying in the streets."
Gilbert Police Chief Michael Soelberg
I am deeply concerned and troubled by the death of Tyre Nichols due to the actions of five police officers with the Memphis (TN) Police Department. The actions of these officers are despicable, unnecessary, and illegal. These types of incidents erode the trust between communities and law enforcement agencies.
In Gilbert, we value our relationships with our community members who trust us to fairly and impartially maintain the peace within our community. We are committed to emphasizing the dignity and respect of everyone we serve.
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone
This event depicts the worst in human behavior and abuse by law enforcement. I have the utmost respect for Chief Davis’ honesty. I believe all law enforcement leaders should have the courage and commitment when addressing any type of police brutality in our communities.
Page Police Chief Tim Lange
Upon viewing video related to the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five Memphis police officers, I am sickened by what I saw.
The violence demonstrated by these five individuals, who took an oath to protect others, is despicable and CANNOT be tolerated.
I pray that the court system will provide justice for those most affected by this horrific event and that there will not be any additional violence.
The majority of officers live and will die for the oath they took. The actions of those five individuals DO NOT reflect the belief of most officers, and those actions need to be adequately addressed.
I am saddened for the community of Memphis and for the rest of us who strive to do what is right.
Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) President Darrell Kriplean
The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association has viewed the abhorrent and disturbing footage of five Memphis police officers violently assaulting Tyre Nichols resulting in his death. The behavior displayed in the video is not reflective of the ethics and standards we teach our police officers.
We mourn the loss of Mr. Nichols and grieve with his family and the community tonight. These police officers must be held accountable for this senseless loss of life.
Phoenix Police Interim Chief Michael Sullivan
I am deeply troubled by the circumstances surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols. Quite frankly, what is seen on the video released is infuriating and offensive to the noble profession I love. I condemn the actions of those responsible.
One of the core principles of policing is respecting the sanctity of life. The actions of those individuals go against that principle as well as the culture, training and values instilled in law enforcement officers.
I understand that trust is the foundation of policing and we work hard every day to cultivate and maintain that trust. It saddens me that again, the actions of a few, have the capacity to cast a broad negative brush on the law enforcement profession.
I am proud to lead the members of this department who put their lives on the line everyday as they strive to protect the community they serve with pride and dignity. I commit to pushing our department to be a self-assessing, self-correcting agency with a strong process for accountability. I am grateful for the community’s partnership in maintaining a safe and vibrant city.