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Demonstrators in Chicago, suburbs rally for change and transparency after Tyre Nichols’ death

Federal Plaza demonstrators in the Chicago Loop rallied for action and change in policing after Tyre Nichols’ death.

CHICAGO (WLS) — In Chicago’s Federal Plaza, demonstrators moved through the streets, shouting for justice they say Tyre Nichols was denied.

The video footage showing Memphis police officers pepper spraying and pummeling the 29-year old prompted widespread horror.

It was released three weeks after the incident, as part of swift action from law enforcement officials that included charging five officers with second-degree murder and disbanding their specialized police unit.

The frigid night air is no deterrent to a crowd so determined to cement systematic change.

“We saw, on Friday night, one of America’s most brutal acts!” said Bishop Tavis Grant with the Rainbow Push Coalition. “We won’t take half justice on this! This is how we feel power!”

On Monday, the Memphis Police Department revealed that two more of its officers were relieved of duty pending an investigation.

One of them is Preston Hemphill, seen in his own body camera video, trying to tase Nichols. Hemphill was there when police first encountered Nichols on Jan. 7, but not the second time, when Nichols was tackled to the ground and beaten.

SEE ALSO | 2 more officers involved in Tyre Nichols’ death relieved of duty, 2 EMTS fired

“I think that all of them should pay along with the white officer that was tasing my son. How come he hasn’t been charged with anything?” said Rodney Wells. “Suspended! Not fired, not convicted, but suspended. Where’s the justice?”

Five Memphis police officers at the scene have all been fired, and charged with second-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. Three Memphis Fire Department personnel involved in treating Nichols were also fired. And, two Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies who responded to the scene were relieved of duty pending investigation.

The fired-up crowd in the Loop is looking for tangible changes in policing.

“Police need to be more intentional about how they react with our community,” said Joseph Williams, a candidate for district police community council.

The goal of Chicago police district community councils, which Williams is hoping to join on the South Side, is to help build relationships between the people and the police who are paid to protect them.

“I think it’s very important that we find a way to bring this center where we can actually work together,” Williams said.

And in Waukegan, community activists also came together on Monday to share their pain over Nichols’ death.

“We definitely want to thank the police department in Memphis for releasing the video tape as soon as possible. That’s very important in regards to being transparent,” said Tio Hardiman with Violence Interrupters. “Police have to step up and provide more anger management and emotional support for police officers nationwide.”

The Lake County chapter of Black Lives Matter said it wants to see transparency as the goal of district attorneys across the country.

“Why, in 2023, is this still happening? This isn’t the 30s. It isn’t the 1800s. This is 2023, and we’re still having these problems,” said The Antmound Founder Anthony McIntyre. “The only way that we minimize this happening again is that people who are out there in the public make demand of the police department. You’ve got to do better by the community.”

Lake County Black Lives Matter cited the case of Marcellis Stinnette, a passenger in a car who was shot and killed in 2020 by former Waukegan Officer Dante Salinas during a traffic chase. Salinas was charged with second-degree murder. The incident was not captured on video that was released by the city of Waukegan.

“One of the police officers was fired. But, it took two years for the officer to the charged, and still, today, no video footage has been released,” said Clyde McLemore with Lake County Black Lives Matter.

Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor said no officers involved in the shooting of Stinnette remained employed by the city, and that efforts are made to be as transparent as possible. She also added that she is horrified by the murder of Nichols.

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