Milwaukee rally for Tyre Nichols; groups march from Red Arrow Park

From Memphis to Milwaukee, the video of Tyre Nichols' arrest drove people to the streets in protest Sunday, Jan. 29. A few dozen people brought their frustrations to the doors of the Milwaukee Police Department.

Some activists say Nichols' death is proof that more change is needed, and they say Milwaukee isn't immune from that.

One group pointed to the speed with which Memphis police released the video and took action. They're hoping that can become the norm in Milwaukee.

At Milwaukee's Red Arrow Park, where Dontre Hamilton was killed by a Milwaukee police officer, families and activists said, "Enough is enough" again.

"If people have seen it, you already know how disturbing it is to watch that," said Alan Chavoya. 

Chavoya and the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression organized Sunday's rally as a sign of support for Nichols' family. The 29-year-old Black man died after police beat him during a traffic stop in Memphis.

"You're showing that you want to keep Tyre Nichols' name and all the names of those who have been killed by the police, you want to keep those names alive," said Chavoya.

Dozens took that message to police, marching through the streets to the Milwaukee police administration building, renewing calls for systemic change.

"No longer should we in Milwaukee accept people dying in the dungeon that is MSDF (Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility)," said Stone Anderson. "Working-class people all across the country need to stand up for Tyre and all the Black people that have fallen victim to police violence."

Among those sharing messages was Brieanna Green, whose brother, Brieon, died by suicide at the jail last summer.

"How many brothers have to die?" said Green. "How many mothers have to cry? How many more marches? How many more signs? How many more times?"

The Milwaukee Alliance will also host a candlelight vigil for Nichols Tuesday night.

FOX6 News asked the Milwaukee Police Department for comment on Sunday's march but did not hear back.

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The groups that took part in Sunday's Milwaukee rally included: 

  • Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
  • Justice for Brieon Green Coalition
  • Students for Democratic Society (SDS) at UWM
  • Reproductive Action Justice - Milwaukee (RJA-M)
  • Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO)
  • Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) - Milwaukee

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Statements from officials

Wisconsin officials and organizations shared statements after the release of the Tyre Nichols body camera videos on Friday. They are as follows: 

Gov. Tony Evers (D-Wisconsin)

"My heart breaks tonight for Tyre Nichols, his loved ones, Memphis, and communities across our country who are grieving, re-traumatized, fearful, and exhausted.

"He should still be with us today."

Milwaukee Bucks

"We are outraged by the deadly beating that Tyre Nichols received from five Memphis police officers. While the police officers being charged for their heinous actions is an important step for justice, this incident further highlights the need for progress in improving police-community relations. The Bucks remain committed to using our voice and resources to inspire the systemic change that needs to happen in our marginalized communities. Our hearts and prayers go out to Mr. Nichols’ family and friends."

State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee)

"It’s hard to believe that the shock and visceral response to the video of George Floyd’s death could be matched, but it has. The injuries inflicted upon Tyre Nichols were brutal and vile. I wept for this young man tonight and I weep for a system where these officers felt emboldened to behave in this manner. I wish I could offer more meaningful commentary, but my disgust and dismay won’t let me move beyond my outrage at what was done to this man. No one helped him."

State Rep. LaKeshia Myers (D-Milwaukee)

"Like most Americans, I was horrified by video footage showing the beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee.  The manner in which Mr. Nichols was kicked, bludgeoned, and pepper sprayed, repeatedly, by multiple officers was heinous and downright inhumane.  I cannot think of any circumstance where a routine traffic stop includes a civilian being beaten by multiple officers and ends in loss of life.  Furthermore, I cannot fathom how or why other officers neglected to intervene to stop the behavior of their colleagues.

"Tonight, I mourn with the family of Tyre Nichols; I mourn with the City of Memphis, and I lend my voice to the chorus of public protesters who demand justice for the Nichols family and the disbanding of specialized task forces who operate outside the margins of acceptable policing.  We are beyond discussions of de-escalation, proper training, and improved policy.  What is needed is a total erosion of long-standing pervasive police culture.  This cannot come from civilians, but from officers themselves.

"We fought for training, de-escalation, and bodycams, yet with all of these things, here we are again, mourning another life, taken mercilessly by an officer operating outside the color of law." 

State Rep. Darrin Madison (D-Milwaukee)

"This is not an isolated case. This is the horrible and natural result of a system based on punitive controls instead of a realistic continuum of care that is rooted in rehabilitation, repairing the harm, and guaranteed safety not only for those in the care of our country but for our whole community."

State Rep. Ryan Clancy (D-Milwaukee)

"Events like this brutal murder shake the conscience of our community. Many will urge us merely to ‘remain calm’. Please do not. To do so is to be complacent and complicit in this violence. Be angry. Protest. Agitate for change. Respond to this horrific and sustained systemic violence not with violence but with a fierce determination to tear down and replace the system responsible for it.

"The charges filed in this case are merely the lowest bar of accountability after the fact – only systemic change which prevents future victims will bring justice. The demographics of the charged officers do not make this case ‘complicated’. They underline the present and historic reality of policing in America: policing is rooted in racism and against the interests of the working class. No amount of reform, training, or ‘community’ policing can or will change that."