Portland NAACP and Black community leaders address Tyre Nichols death
Vigil Held to Shed Light on Injustice
2/8/2023, 2:50 p.m.
The NAACP and Portland leaders held a vigil for Tyre Nichols, who died after being brutally beaten by Memphis police officers. Nichols was just 29 when he died. Video of police beating and kicking him was released and protests around the country began. Five former police officers are now charged in his death. A sixth Memphis officer was also fired after an internal police investigation showed he violated multiple department policies in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols, including rules surrounding the deployment of a stun gun, officials said.
“We have a lot of problems to solve,” said NAACP President James Posey. “We have issues around police accountability.” Mr. Posey continued on to say “It’s not just about protesting. We’ve got to go deeper than carrying signs.” Additionally, Posey added that Portland’s Black police officers are “some of the best human beings on the planet.”
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell was also present at the vigil to honor the life of Tyre Nichols. The group spoke out on the need for change. Chief Chuck Lovell called the officers’ actions “shocking and unconscionable” and pleaded with local protesters to stay peaceful.
“We know this atrocious act will breed further distrust and anger toward law enforcement. We understand these feelings, but we are asking our community to honor the wishes of Mr. Nichols’ family who have asked people to protest peacefully,” Lovell said.
Former state senator Margaret Carter stood alongside Mayor Wheeler, James Posey and Chief Lovell in a virtual meeting stated “As a Black mother, we’ve been here too many times. This time even being a worse time than before when you look at the footage,” Carter said. “Today I join our leaders from across the state in expressing my deep sorrow for the parents of Tyre Nichols.”
Nichols’ family hired lawyer Ben Crump, known for representing the families of others struck down by police, including George Floyd. Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in 2020 led to nationwide protests and raised the volume on calls for police reform. Rowvaughn Wells, mother of Tyre Nichols described her son as a “beautiful soul” who “touched a lot of people.” She continued to say “No mother should have to go through this. I’m still trying to understand all of this and trying to wrap my head around all of this. It’s still like a nightmare right now.”