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Several mostly peaceful protests took place across the United States after body camera footage of Tire Nichols’ killing was released on Friday. All five officers involved in Nichols’ arrest earlier this week were fired and charged with second-degree murder, battery and kidnapping.
Protests in some cities led to the deployment of the National Guard, while others disrupted traffic.
In Memphis, where Nichols died, a group of demonstrators gathered in a downtown park before taking to the streets to shut down the I-55 bridge over the Mississippi River between Memphis and West Memphis. Chanting “No justice, no peace” and “Justice in Tyre,” they closed the bridge for nearly three hours before disbanding peacefully.
Elsewhere in Memphis, people gathered in churches or small groups to reflect on a painful and somber moment for the city.
Protests in downtown Los Angeles became tense as a small group of protesters gathered outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, with officers in riot gear cordoning it off, the Los Angeles Times reported. Protesters tore down protective barricades around the building, but no immediate arrests were reported.
Other small but mostly peaceful protests took place in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Detroit and Atlanta, among other cities.
In the days leading up to the video’s release, officials had been preparing for nationwide protests. President Joe Biden called the videos “creepy,” while Antonio Romanucci, a lawyer representing the Nichols family, said the 29-year-old was being treated like a “human piñata.”
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency this week, and members of the National Guard can be seen in atlantatrying to contain the protesters. people Protests outside the White House can also be seen Hours earlier, Biden urged citizens “not to resort to violence or vandalism.”
Also on Friday, White House officials spoke with mayors of a dozen major cities, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago, to brief them on the status of federal aid.
Nichols’ family, including his mother Rovaughn Wells and his stepfather Rodney Wells, asked the protesters to remain peaceful.
“I don’t want us to burn down cities and tear down our streets because that’s not what my son stands for,” Wells said Thursday during a vigil for her son.
Organizers planned vigils, marches and demonstrations across the United States over the weekend.
Reporting from NPR’s Debbie Elliott is included in this article.