Hundreds of protesters have closed off the Interstate 55 bridge in both directions Friday night after the police body camera footage was released.
The protest was peaceful with demonstrators asking for the police to be held accountable and chanting: “Say his name, Tyre Nichols,” and “No justice, no peace.”
A protester named ST Court said he was pushing to defund the Memphis Police Department and to give officers more training.
“If there was more training, maybe Tyre wouldn’t have died,” Court said.
Others said the only way to bring about change was to make city leaders pay attention.
“I’m just supporting the movement of the people against corruption,” said Brian Iraheta, 29, of Memphis.
A demonstration organizer, Bezal Jupiter, came to Memphis from Atlanta as part of the Party of Socialism and Liberation.
“I’m tired of the oppression that we’ve seen against Black men in the South”, he said. “What we need right now is money in the community. What we need right now is the disbandment of murderous units like Scorpion. What we need right now is comprehensive overhaul of the system of policing in this country.”
The protest took some motorists by surprise. Kayte Ledbetter, 21, said she was nearing the end of a four-hour drive from South Arkansas when encountered hundreds of protesters blocking Interstate 55.
“It was literally out of nowhere. I just stopped my car and saw a bunch of people. I thought they were going to protest really quickly and be gone,” Ledbetter said.
“I’m all for peaceful protests, and this is as peaceful as it gets. People need to use their voice to stick up for situations like this because what happened was absolutely heinous.”