Breaking News
More () »

'Why is it still happening?': Portland protestors marched in wake of Tyre Nichols' police beating video

Five Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder following the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols during a traffic stop.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Thousands of miles away from Memphis, Portlanders felt the effect of Tyre Nichols tragic death. Small groups of protestors took to the streets Friday night to demand justice as city leaders urged safety and peace. 

More than 100 protestors gathered in Northeast Portland near the Oregon Convention Center. 

"Why did it happen again? why is it still happening? why is it happening again? why is it happening now?" said a protestor.

The group of protestors ended up under the Burnside Bridge where another group of protestors were honoring Nichols at the skatepark — as he was an avid skateboarder. 

"Racism and police brutality — it's just unacceptable.. so I feel like it's right for everyone to get out here and do their part to show support and solidarity," said the protestor. 

As of 10 p.m. Friday night there was no reports of damage. 

Earlier Friday afternoon, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Police Chief Chuck Lovell and other local leaders held a press conference and condemned the actions of Memphis police officers involved in the fatal beating of Nichols, during a Jan. 7 traffic stop. Nichols, 29, died three days after the incident.

The Portland leaders called for local calm ahead of the planned release of body camera footage of the incident.

"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.

Lovell called the officers' actions "shocking and unconscionable" and praised the Memphis Police Chief for quickly taking action in the case. Five of the officers involved in the incident, all of whom are Black, have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes.

RELATED: DA: 5 Memphis cops 'all responsible' for Tyre Nichols' death

Credit: Courtesy of the Nichols family via AP
This photo provided by the Nichols family shows Tyre Nichols, who had a passion for photography and was described by friends as joyful and lovable.

Wheeler made similar comments, and they both also spoke about police reform efforts that Portland has undertaken.

"I expect that Portlanders will voice their concerns and grief, especially with the release of footage that is shocking and appalling," he said. "I support those who wish to exercise their right to be heard, and I understand their deep concerns. I also want to echo the request of Tyre Nichols' family and urge the community to do so peacefully, in a nonviolent manner." 

Portland NAACP chapter president James Posey and former State Sen. Margaret Carter both spoke as well, echoing the condemnation of the incident and the calls for peaceful protest.

"As a mother, and 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. But today I join our leaders from across the state in expressing my deep sorrow for the parents of Tyre Nichols," Carter said. 

WATCH: Full news conference

The footage, taken from three body-worn officer cameras and one overhead camera, shows police brutally beating Nichols for three minutes while screaming profanities at him, as well as using batons, tasers and pepper spray.

The four clips released publicly shortly after 4 p.m. Friday. Nichols' family members and their lawyers, who saw the footage in advance, likened the assault to the infamous 1991 police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press.

News of the incident has prompted plans for protests in multiple cities including Memphis, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York City and Washington, D.C. Nichols' family held a press conference earlier Friday in which their attorney said they accepted the charges brought against the officers and "do not want any type of uproar, any type of disturbance."

Credit: AP
Protesters march down the street Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn., as authorities release police video depicting five Memphis officers beating Tyre Nichols, whose death resulted in murder charges and provoked outrage at the country's latest instance of police brutality. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Before You Leave, Check This Out