Vigil and speakout held in San Antonio to demand justice for Tyre Nichols

Laynie Clark, Managing Editor

On Saturday, Jan. 28, San Antonio’s chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) organized a vigil and speakout at Martin Luther King Plaza to demand justice for Tyre Nichols. 

Nichols was pulled over on Jan. 7 by police officers in Memphis who stated that he was driving recklessly. Video surveillance shows the officers opening Nichols’ door and wrestling him to the ground as he says, “I didn’t do anything.” The footage shows Nichols breaking free and running in the direction of his mother’s home when the officers begin assaulting him; he died three days later in the hospital. 

Chris Banks, member and organizer of PSL, spoke out against the justice system.

“Ask yourself, where are the good cops,” Banks said. “Don’t talk to me about a good cop. Your good cop means nothing if that cop ain’t speaking out … Your good cop means nothing to me and nothing to us if they won’t stand with the people. Tyre Nichols [was] beat to death on video; where are your good cops? There is no good cop in a racist system.”

Guest speaker Lloyd Kuykendoll shared his feelings on the importance of unity and community.

“… If you look around, you see different diversities,” Kuykendoll said. “All of us coming from different communities, letting them know that our voices will be heard and we’re not going to be quiet … We’re not going to let them tell us what justice is. Justice is leaving the young man alone … You can’t get justice once you’re in the grave.”

Kuykendoll also explained why it’s important to show up and fight.

“We’re fighting to make sure that if any of us are stopped by the racist police that we are still going to see another day … It’s all voices that need to come together right now … We are standing together in unity.”

In an article by KENS 5, a local San Antonio news station, SAPD chief William McManus commented on the body cam footage.

“It was hard to watch — imagining someone taking a beating like that — especially at the hands of police, who are supposed to be protecting people,” McManus told KENS 5. “It goes against the grain of everything we are taught … It goes against the grain of our training, our philosophy, our work in the community.” 

As of Jan. 30, five Memphis police officers involved in the incident have been terminated from their positions and charged with the murder of Nichols while two other officers were relieved of duty and face internal investigation. CNN further reports that, as of Monday, Jan. 30, three Memphis Fire Department personnel who “responded to the beating” have also been fired.