Upstate Black Lives Matter groups, activists disgusted, dejected by Tyre Nichols footage

A group of demonstrators protest outside a police precinct in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A group of demonstrators protest outside a police precinct in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, in Memphis, Tenn., Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

GREATER CAPITAL REGION —  Renewed are feelings of anguish and among activists in the face of a Tennessee tragedy.

Tyre Nichols, 29, allegedly sustained fatal injuries from five since-fired Memphis police officers at a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Video footage released on Friday shows the squad beating Nichols to death while he pleaded to go home and asked for his mother.

He was 80 yards away from home.

“It created some real emotions, emotions which are still pretty raw right now,” said Marketa Edwards, co-director of the Community Rising Project advocacy group in Troy. “As a mother of five sons and a grandson, who is only five, I can’t imagine having to experience what Tyre’s mother is going through and what so many other mothers are going through.”

Saratoga BLM and Schenectady-based All of Us advocacy groups have condemned the killing.

“Saratoga BLM is sick and disgusted by these killings and collectively we must ask ourselves when we will live in a world where we can live full and prosperous lives and not be subjected to death for being black and standing up for what we believe in, that black lives matter,” the group wrote in a statement.

Officers involved were charged with murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, misconduct and oppression. Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis subsequently disbanded the SCORPION unit, a squad created primarily to take on rising crime rates in the southern city.

LaShawn Hawkins, founder of Gloversville-based social justice group I Can Breathe And I Will Speak, lauded Memphis authorities for swiftly taking action.

“Because that woman [Davis] did her damn job, I didn’t have to go out and stand in front of police departments, demanding justice for Tyre, when his justice is right there,” Hawkins said. “She’s on it and the sad part about all of this is that everybody involved is Black, pretty much.”

After George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in 2020, anti-police brutality and anti-racism protests surged across the Capital Region. One demonstration organized by Troy4BlackLives amassed upwards of 11,000 people in the eponymous Rensselaer County downtown.

Organizers pushed to highlight police reform initiatives (per ideological strain, objectives varied), boycott allegedly racist entities and pressure public officials to discipline local officers accused of misconduct. Results were limited and the number of demonstrations dwindled by the end of 2020.

“We can’t continue to just say, ‘oh, we’ll wait ‘til the next time there’s a video’ or ‘we’re gonna wait until the next time it’s reported,’” said Edwards. “Why do we have to wait? Let’s do something now and keep doing something.”

Edwards was involved in a Saturday protest organized by her organization, the city’s Democratic Socialists of America chapter and Troy4BlackLives, on behalf of Nichols and Edson Thevenin, an unarmed resident shot to death by city police Sgt. Randall French in 2016.

High-profile area controversies of the like typically involve white law enforcement officers and civilians of color. The Biden administration has recommended agency diversification efforts in order to mitigate racial profiling.

“Increasing the number of Black people on a police force does not end the culture of violence and brutality within policing,” Schenectady-based All of Us advocacy group wrote in a statement. “Locally, residents are still profiled, harassed, beaten, and abused in the name of ‘public safety.'”

Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford and ranking department officials recently reviewed footage of the Memphis incident. Clifford in a press release maintained that the officers displayed “a lack of humanity” toward Nichols.

Nichols, a father, enjoyed sunsets, photography and skateboarding, family members have told members of the press. Memphis officers pulled him over while he coming home after taking pictures of the sky.

“Police brutality does not only adversely impact the victims’ families but also the officers’ families and leaves the communities in which they are sworn to serve and protect traumatized,” said Carl Williams, chair of the Schenectady City Council’s public safety committee, in a statement.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3749 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County


Bill Marincic

Well, she is wearing the correct shirt “Looney Tunes” isn’t that called transculturation or cultural appropriation if you take on a different race hair style? I’m pretty sure that if either of those two white girls went out there with an Afro someone would say something. Not that I could care less but it does seem quite hypocritical.

Bill Marincic

BTW, it seems like the police chief did the right thing immediately by firing the five dirtbag cops and by charging them with murder and it was murder.

Bill Marincic

Look Chuckles, I will call it as I see it. Anyone willing to call out someone else for supposed racism should be called out. BTW, Chuckles, I have no problem with anyone of color, my best friend is Black as is my grandaughter, you moron. The only disdain I have is for lefties like you, get a life. Not for nothing buy, if you were twice as smart, you’d still be stupid.


Why is the Daily Gazette spending time and money covering this? We are in Upstate New York, and this issue occurred in Memphis, Tennessee.

BLM’s solutions are illogical – why would it be effective for a local Police Department to be upended because of something that happened 1,000 miles away?

BLM’s message is based in hate, and giving them this much media attention only fans the flames of their hatred because it makes them think they are accomplishing something.

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