Community holds vigil for Tyre Nichols at Tobey Skatepark

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 7:06 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The family of Tyre Nichols, his coworkers at FedEx, and members of the Memphis community gathered at Tobey Skatepark Thursday night to celebrate the life of the fallen 29-year-old after he was killed in an altercation with Memphis police.

At Tobey Skatepark, dozens gathered with lit candles, supportive signs, musical instruments, and skateboards in hand.

Drums beat as the crowd prayed in silence, some with tears in their eyes.

Several speakers also came out to share Nichols’ legacy and unite with the community in honor of him. Many messages were shared, but the loudest asked for peace, unity, and justice from the community.

Nichols died on Jan. 10, three days after a traffic stop conducted by members of MPD’s SCORPION Unit left him critically injured.

The five officers accused of killing Nichols were indicted by a Grand Jury on Thursday and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and official oppression.

Several speakers say they are thankful for unity and grieve for the breaths Nichols will no longer take.

“We did not know, God, that Tyre, he was on his way home to you. But he should not have been on his way home to you, God. Tyre should’ve made it home. Tyre should’ve made it home,” prayed Reverend Vahisha Hasan, executive director of Movement in Faith, a project of Transform Network.

Nichols was an avid skateboarder who frequented areas like Shelby Farms and Tobey Park in his off time, according to family.

Nichols’ mother and stepfather thanked those in attendance for their support at Thursday night’s vigil.

“Our family is grief-stricken right now, and this is very hard to swallow,” said Nichols’ mother, Ravaughn Wells. “When that tape comes out tomorrow, it’s gonna be horrific. I didn’t see it, but from what I hear, it’s gonna be horrific, but I want each and every one of you to protest peacefully.”

“If you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully,” she continued.

On Monday, dozens of skaters gathered outside city hall in a show of support for Nichols’ family as they, along with their attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, watched the video leading up to his death inside.

That video - a combination of SkyCop and body camera footage - is expected to be released to the public sometime after 6 p.m. Friday, according to District Attorney Steve Mulroy.

In the next coming days, local activists at the vigil say they’re aiming to put out calls for action to prevent deaths like this from ever happening again.

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