'No Justice, No Peace': Raleigh protesters join calls for justice after Tyre Nichols' death

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Sunday, January 29, 2023
Raleigh protesters join calls for justice after Tyre Nichols' death
"Life is important. So we must fight for equality, for justice and for changes for sure," one Raleigh protester said Saturday.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- From a crowd of 50 gathered on the steps of the Federal Building on Saturday, to more than 100 marching down the streets of Raleigh, the nationwide response to the video of Tyre Nichols' death in Memphis was echoed in Raleigh with signs and chants of "No Justice, No Peace."

"There are feelings of horror, number one," Emancipate NC Executive Director Dawn Blagrove said. "We are exhausted from constantly having to demand and prove our own humanity. Tyre should not be dead. As a mother, watching him be beaten the way he was beaten was disgusting."

For mothers like Michele Falls, participating in the protest meant fighting for a long-term change.

"I hope this world is different for my daughter, Falls said while holding on to her 19-month-old daughter. "Life is important, so we must fight for equality, for justice, and for changes for sure."

SEE ALSO | 'It pains me': Durham sheriff disheartened to again see officers abuse their power, cause death

The protest comes one week after Raleigh Police Department was criticized for its handling of Daryl Williams, who died on Jan. 17 after being shocked with a stun gun multiple times while in police custody. The six officers involved are on administrative duty while the State Bureau of Investigation reviews the case.

"Those kinds of things happen because there is lawlessness in law enforcement," Blagrove said. "We demand accountability."

The use of excessive force against people remains a discussion as the national spotlight is on Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis and how Nichols death is handled. Davis spent five years as Durham's top cop prior to taking the role in Memphis.

SEE ALSO | Memphis police disband unit that beat Tyre Nichols to death

"The Chief Davis that Memphis, and the world is seeing, is exactly who we thought she was when we brought her here," Durham Mayor Pro Tempore Mark-Anthony Middleton said. "She's unafraid to snatch badges when it's time. She does not embrace the view of police as an occupying force, but rather as a part of the community."

Blagrove said while there was a swift response in Tyre's case, there is a personal level of culpability.

"We are still having to dismantle systemically racist systems, because we very often focus on individual actors when systems are what create outcomes, not the individuals inside of those systems," Blagrove said.

Protesters in Raleigh on Saturday marched for at least two miles throughout downtown, calling for reform, including stopping proactive policing.

"Why are people dying before they get their right in court to say whether what they claimed to have happened, happened or not?" Apex resident Jeffrey Porter said.

The protest ended at the Federal Building around 3:30 p.m., where organizers urged people to continue to fight.

"Last night, I was sad and angry, and still am today," UNC student Greear Webb said. "But I believe we must keep raising our voices as a community and lifting one another, taking care of our mental health, and fighting for justice, which means fighting to change policy and change the ways that people in positions of power in this country interact with the community and hopefully protect them."