Jan. 28 (UPI) — Protesters took to the streets in cities across the country on Friday following the release of video of the beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police officers on Jan. 7.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Los Angeles and New York City as well as in Memphis late Friday and into Saturday morning following the release of dramatic and graphic bodycam footage of Nichols’ beating by five now-fired members of the Memphis Police Department.
The footage showed five members of the elite Scorpion police unit, originally set up to counter gang-related crime in the city, beating, pepper spraying and using stun guns on Nichols without apparent provocation.
The officers can be heard making claims that Nichols had gone for one of their guns. While the footage is inconclusive, it does not appear to show Nichols making such a move.
All five officers were arrested and charged with murder Thursday. They were released Friday after posting bail.
In Memphis, protesters planned to meet in Martyrs Park but headed towards the Interstate 55 bridge and temporarily shut down traffic in all lanes.
In Los Angeles a group of protesters gathered at police headquarters, which was guarded by armed police. Demonstrators verbally confronted officers in a tense situation, tore down a barricade and shook a police car, but the protest was otherwise peaceful.
The Los Angeles group played audio of the Memphis footage and chanted slogans condemning the police,
In New York, protesters gathered at Grand Central Station and Union Square and marched throughout parts of lower and midtown Manhattan. Police shut down traffic from 48th to 42nd streets in and around Times Square.
At one point a protester climbed on top of a police vehicle and broke the windshield. That person was arrested for criminal mischief to a police vehicle, reports indicated.
Despite the damaged police vehicle, however, the New York protests were largely peaceful. Two other people were arrested, officials said.