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Protests continue in Boston over the beating of Tyre Nichols


Around 150 people showed up outside the State House to protest police brutality against Black men in the wake of the Memphis police beating and death of Tyre Nichols.

Saturday’s protest, featuring speeches and a march, followed an initial gathering Friday night before the Memphis Police Department released footage showing the traffic stop involving the Black motorist and the five Black Memphis police officers.

The recording shows police on Jan. 7 beating Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx worker, for three minutes while screaming profanities at him during the assault. Nichols calls out for his mother before his limp body is propped against a squad car and the officers exchange fist-bumps.

The five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

Chants from protesters in Boston included “Enough is enough,” “Stand up and fight back,” and one speaker vowed “We must dismantle this (police) system and turn it upside down.”

The Boston Party for Socialism and Liberation organized the protests Friday and Saturday.

“They should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said a member of the Boston PSL who identified himself as “JD.”

“Justice includes building and sustaining a strong, mass movement of the people to ensure we put an end to the racist police tariffs once and for all in this society because no one should be subjected to what happened to Tyre,” he said.

The Memphis Police Department has disbanded the special unit whose officers beat Nichols to death.

Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said she listened to Nichols’ relatives, community leaders and uninvolved officers in making the decision.

“It is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the Scorpion unit,” she said in a statement, adding that officers currently assigned to the unit “agree unreservedly” with the step.

The footage released Friday left many unanswered questions about the traffic stop involving Nichols and about other law enforcement officers who stood by as he lay motionless on the pavement.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are both condemning the Memphis police beating of Nichols. The president said in a statement that he was “outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video” of the beating and said people who see it will be “justifiably outraged.” But he’s also urging protesters to avoid any violence.

In Boston, the protests have been peaceful.

Sammy Albright, a member of the Boston Socialist Alternative, attended Saturday’s protest and said his group is calling for creation of a “mass working party” separate from the Republican and Democratic parties that would meet the demands of ending police brutality.

“We call for defunding the police by 50% and redistributing that into social programs that can actually get to the root cause of crime and help marginalized communities with rent control, better schools and whatnot,” Albright said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Protestors gather at State House and Boston Common in a rally to protest the killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis on January 28, 2023 in , BOSTON, MA. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald

Protestors gather at the State House and Boston Common in a rally Saturday to protest the killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis on Jan. 7. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)


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