Organizers rally outside Dallas police headquarters after release of Tyre Nichols video
Dallas Police and other city officials made statements condemning the violence in the released footage, in which Nichols, 29, was beaten by Memphis police officers. He died three days later.
Content warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of police violence.
Dozens of Dallas protesters gathered Friday night outside the Dallas Police Department headquarters after the release of graphic video depicting the Memphis police killing of Tyre Nichols.
The rally was organized by the Next Generation Action Network in response to videos released in four parts by the city of Memphis Friday that showed the Black 29-year-old being attacked by Memphis police.
"Enough is enough," said Dominique Alexander with Next Generation Action Network. "It's just sad that we have to keep on going through this situation."
Alexander criticized Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia for what he said was a lack of transparency in releasing data on use-of-force cases in Dallas. He also encouraged protesters to support local organizations that work to change policy at the local, state and national level.
"There are things that we can do right now to affect the change that's necessary," Alexander said. "Right now it's time to organize, it's time to get involved in policy changes that's necessary needed."
In the videos, Nichols is shown stopped at a traffic light in Memphis. Police started yelling for him to get out of the car. One of the five officers, who were also Black, opens the door and begins to roughly pull him from the front seat onto the street as he tries to explain he was on his way home.
At one point Nichols can be seen attempting to escape the beating, unsuccessfully. Despite not appearing to resist throughout the entire encounter, officers repeatedly punched him, kicked him, struck him with a baton and yelled profanities.
“I didn’t do anything,” Nichols can be heard saying. At another point he can be heard repeatedly calling for his mother.
He died in a hospital three days later.
The five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were all fired and each face charges including second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
In Dallas Friday, Irfan Sattar stood holding a tattered cardboard sign that read "I can't breathe" in black sharpie bubble letters — echoing some of the last words uttered by another Black American, George Floyd, whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police sparked widespread protests in 2020.
Sattar lives in Dallas but grew up in Memphis. He said he's had the tattered sign for years.
"This has happened so many times. We talk about change all the time, nothing happens," Sattar said. "I honestly do not know what we're going to do, how this country is going to heal."
Sattar hadn't yet seen the video Friday evening — but said he wasn't surprised when he heard the news of Tyre Nichols.
"It's numbing — we've seen this stuff happen over and over again," Sattar said. "What I'm feeling is pain for my city, pain for my country as well, but pain for my city because like I said, I love my city."
Sattar also said he came out to represent his hometown of Memphis.
"Memphis loves to love and I hope Memphis showcases that love today, tomorrow, next week, next month," Sattar said. "I hope Memphis proves this country wrong."
Dallas leaders react
Hours before the video's release, Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia revealed body camera footage of a Dallas police shooting, in which six officers shot and killed an 18-year-old suspected of capital murder in the death of a Farmers Branch resident.
The details of that shooting appear to be markedly different from the killing of Nichols: The Dallas teen, Joey Fraire, was in the passenger seat of a vehicle while officers repeatedly shouted for him to surrender. Fraire allegedly fired at least two shots and wounded one officer in the foot before being shot in a hail of police gunfire.
Still, at Friday's press conference releasing the footage, Garcia acknowledged the difficulty in earning the trust of traditionally marginalized communities — especially after high-profile killings like the one in Memphis.
"I will tell you, yes, it does take us all back," Garcia said. "You know, we often say this, and it's not cliche: What happens in one part of this country affects us all."
After the release Friday evening of the video depicting Tyre Nichols' death, the Dallas Police Department Twitter account posted a video of Garcia calling for greater accountability.
Message to the people of Dallas from Chief Eddie Garcia regarding the death of Tyre Nichols. pic.twitter.com/zUpnQilW2o— Dallas Police Dept (@DallasPD) January 28, 2023
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson also released a statement on Twitter, saying he was "shocked and disgusted" by the violence on the videos.
I am shocked and disgusted by the reprehensible acts of violence shown in these videos. The actions of these former police officers were disgraceful and a betrayal of their oath to uphold the law and protect their community. (1/2)— Mayor Eric Johnson (@Johnson4Dallas) January 28, 2023