Law enforcement in cities across the country are on alert for possible weekend protests and riots after the Friday evening release of footage showing the Jan. 7 arrest of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Memphis Police Department said a “confrontation occurred,” and Nichols ran away when five officers pulled him over for “reckless driving,” with the officers subsequently catching him and another “confrontation” happening.
Nichols was reportedly sent to the hospital afterward in critical condition, dying three days later, and the officers were charged Thursday with second-degree murder for his death.
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Authorities decided to publicly release the police body camera footage showing the confrontation that allegedly killed Nichols on Friday evening, according to CBS Sacramento, and police departments in cities like Washington D.C. and New York are reportedly readying for potential protests in response. Nichols family attorney Antonio Romanucci said after viewing the footage Monday that Nichols had been a “human piñata for those police officers” and “defenseless the entire time,” ABC News reported.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis predicted Thursday that protests would occur after the footage’s release, saying, “None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens,” according to the outlet.
The D.C. Metro Police Department (MPD) has activated all of its more than 4,000 sworn personnel in preparation for possible protests there, according to WUSA9. Officers will keep 12-hour shifts as long as the activation protocol stays in place, and fencing has been set up at the U.S. Capitol.
“MPD respects the community’s First Amendment right to demonstrate and peacefully protest,” an MPD spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We will not tolerate any unlawful behavior during First Amendment demonstrations, and we will take swift law enforcement action should anyone break the law.”
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The New York Police Department has ordered every precinct to carry at least two officers for security duty, a police source told the New York Post. The NYPD is corresponding with its Tennessee partners, Commissioner Keechant Sewell said Thursday, insisting that the department “will not tolerate vandalism or criminality or disorder.”
“We continue to monitor the situation in Memphis,” an NYPD spokesperson told the DCNF.
“The NYPD continues to work around the clock to keep New Yorkers safe. The Department has examined, adapted and adjusted our response to protests and is prepared to protect the Constitutional right to peaceful protest, and works to ensure public safety for every New Yorker exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Seattle saw violence break out amid protests following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, and activists temporarily occupied an area called the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (CHOP) that summer after police evacuated from it.
A Seattle Police Department spokesperson told the DCNF Friday that the department “is planning, preparing, and staffing to provide public safety throughout the city should police resources be needed.”
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The Dallas Police Department (DPD) said response teams are on standby to address potential incidents linked to the body camera footage’s release, and Chief Eddie Garcia and command staff have been in contact with community and faith leaders, the CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
“While we respect everyone’s right to protest, no matter their position, we will NOT condone lawlessness in our city,” a DPD representative told the DCNF. “We will take the appropriate action if anyone’s actions threaten lives or harm people or property.”
The Phoenix Police Department and Portland Police Bureau informed the DCNF they are monitoring the situation.
“The Phoenix Police Department is aware of the incident and have not received any credible information suggesting demonstrations in the city,” a spokesperson said, adding that they were “prepared to mobilize.”
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