RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A mental health expert called the death of Tyre Nichols triggering. He said it's not about the color of the officers' skin, but the culture around policing and the misuse of power.
"You're witnessing someone's pain and suffering. Somebody's humanity being taken away from them right then and there," said Blaise Harris, a licensed clinical mental health counselor.
It's a trauma that Harris said is associated with watching videos showing police brutality. Nichols is the most recent victim killed at the hands of police officers, and it is an outcome that Harris said he believes is unfortunately all too familiar and a burden that minorities carry daily.
"I do things to make myself seem smaller so I won't seem like a threat. If I do get pulled over, I keep my kids' toys in the back. So they can see that," said Harris. "Adrenaline is always going. It's like we're always in this defensive state of mind. We don't know how to turn it off."
According to Harris, the signs of trauma show up in the form of hypervigilance, self-isolation, depression and anxiety, but coping mechanisms can help. Breathing techniques for stress relief, finding support in family and friends, limiting exposure to triggers and therapy are will helpful tips.
Nearly three years after George Floyd's murder, the brutal beating of Nichols by five Memphis police officers shines an even brighter light on the need for police reform. Thomas McLaurin is George Floyd's first cousin and said he watched the bodycam footage of Nichols.
"Like George's video, I only watched it once. I could not tolerate the way they were beating that man senselessly," he said. "I heard that it was a traffic stop, but how does a traffic stop escalate to a person losing their life?"
It's a triggering thought from Floyd's family and so many others.
"You see people who do all the right things and they still didn't make it home. I just want to make it home like everybody else does," said Harris. "I hold space for so many people who feel like they can't talk about these things in the public. Sometimes it gets heavy."