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Milwaukee marches for Tyre Nichols, killed by Memphis police

Kobe Brown
Milwaukee protesters marching to Police Headquarters District One

Earlier this month, Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man in Memphis, Tennessee, died after being severely beaten by five police officers after a traffic stop.

The officers, who are Black, face a number of charges, including second-degree murder, aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.

Video of the beating was released by the Memphis Police Department late last week, igniting mostly peaceful marches in cities across the country.

Protesters in Milwaukee gathered downtown Sunday.

About 50 people braved the cold to walk from Red Arrow Park to Milwaukee police headquarters nearby. Chants demanding accountability rang in the air as marchers held high signs that called for police reform.

Alan Chavoya is with the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression, which helped organize the demonstration. Chavoya says — like Memphis — Milwaukee is overspending on the city's police. He encouraged marchers to continue to organize and fight together for accountability.

"By being out here today, you’re showing you want to keep the name of Tyre Nichols and all the names of those who have been killed by the police, that you wanna keep those names alive. You’re showing that you want to change the world. And damn we really need to change it," said Chavoya.

While speakers encouraged those who turned out to remain optimistic about change, many said they didn’t see much changing in the way police interact with people of color.

Hayden Harwood is a member of the socialism and liberation party, who co-organized the protest. Harwood was a marshal for the march. She stood in front of a resources table full of hot chocolate and sign-up sheets for other events.

Harwood stressed the importance of communities of color having the resources to fend for themselves.

"We don't think that the police can be reformed. We believe the police need to be abolished, and ultimately that we need an entirely new system that is not based on capitalist exploitation or white supremacy," says Harwood.

In recent days, several local officials, including Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman, have said they're appalled by the beating death of Tyre Nichols.

Milwaukee County Sheriff Denita Ball released a statement over the weekend, calling Nichols' death "horrific and outrageous." She says her department is committed to protecting and serving all the residents, workers, and visitors of Milwaukee County.

Support for the Eric Von Broadcast Fellowship is provided, in part, by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Kobe Brown was WUWM's fifth Eric Von fellow.
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