Massachusetts

Rally Supporting Tyre Nichols' Family Held at Mass. State House

Several rallies have been held in Boston since Friday, when the video of the beating was released

NBC Universal, Inc.

Demonstrators held a rally Thursday at the Massachusetts State House in solidarity with the family of Tyre Nichols, whose death at the hands of Memphis police has prompted outcry nationwide.

The rally was organized by Mass. Action Against Police Brutality, which is calling for the conviction of the officers seen on video beating Nichols, as well as the reinvestigation of police brutality cases across Massachusetts.

Nichols, a 29-year-old father, died at a hospital several days after police stopped him for an alleged traffic violation on Jan. 7. Officers beat him — video released after pressure from Nichols’ family shows officers holding him down and repeatedly punching him, kicking him and striking with him batons as he screamed for his mother.

In the three weeks since Nichols' death, five police officers were fired and charged with murder. Their specialized unit was disbandedTwo more officers have been suspended. Also fired: two Memphis Fire Department emergency medical workers and a lieutenant. And more discipline could be coming.

“The reason why what happened to Tyre is so personal to me is that five Black men that wouldn’t have had a job in the police department, would not ever be thought of to be in an elite squad, in the city that Dr. [Martin Luther] King lost his life … you beat a brother to death,” Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday.

Nichols' death has prompted renewed calls for police reform nationwide and in Boston as well. Mayor Michelle Wu campaigned on a proposal to civilianize traffic enforcement, replacing officers during routine stops with unarmed, trained civilian personnel, an idea that brought mixed reaction locally in the wake of Nichols' death.

At an event Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Ayanna Pressley expressed support for the passage of the federal George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds and federal no-knock warrants.

Several rallies have been held in Boston since Friday, when the video of the beating was released. On Saturday afternoon at the Massachusetts State House, anger was met with a sense of sadness.

“We’re meant to work together in this world and instead we’re tearing people apart and killing our brothers and sisters and it’s unacceptable," said, one woman close to tears.

The Associated Press and State House News Service contributed to this report.

NBC/The Associated Press/State House News Servie
Contact Us