MINNEAPOLIS — A coalition of Twin Cities-based social justice organizations held a press conference to respond to the deadly arrest of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee.
The groups demanded more action be taken nationally and said not enough has been done locally.
“It’s really sad that we have to be here, once again, demanding the obvious, which is police accountability,” said Activist Nekima Levy Armstrong.
The groups speaking at the conference included representatives from CAIR-MN, Communities United Against Police Brutality and the Racial Justice Network.
Memphis Police released four videos, which showed the arrest and attack of Nichols, on Friday evening.
“What we know is this problem is not going away, it’s not gonna solve itself,” said Michelle Gross, of CUAPB.
The groups spoke at the CUAPB office in Minneapolis.
“It does not matter that the officers were black. In that incident, they were blue. That's what we need to recognize this as a part of a blue culture that is anti black. That does not hesitate to discriminate against black people. Because they know that typically they will get away with it,” added Armstrong.
Chauntyll Allen with Black Lives Matter Twin Cities said Minnesota failed the rest of the country with a missed opportunity to protect others after George Floyd.
“We had an opportunity to be the example of change,” said Allen. “And we failed at the state. We failed not just Tyre’s family. But there's been so many other Black men and women murdered since George Floyd.
Allen and other activists expressed frustration and said government leaders contacted them to see if there would be riots or protests in the Twin Cities.
“If we don't see folks that have the power to do anything to stand up and say something other than ‘are y'all gonna protest tonight?’ If we don't see people actually making these changes, and changing their mindset around what we can do about this situation, this will continue to happen to us,” said Allen. “And so if you're wondering if we're gonna protest, think about the 400 years of brutality that we've been dealing with. And what do you think we're going to do?”
Activists called for more legislation to pass in Minnesota to protect citizens from police brutality, which includes more civilian oversight.
There were also people there who lost loved ones at the hands of police officers.
Amity Dimock is the mother of Kobe Dimock-Heisler, a 21-year-old man with autism who was killed by police in 2019.
“It could be your son,” she said. “It could be any of them. And it’s not just black people. It’s anybody.”
While people in Minnesota hurt along with those in Memphis, a local church wanted to make sure they had a place to heal.
Zion Baptist Church opened its doors to the public today for anyone who is looking to talk through what happened to Nichols or for prayer.
The church the same thing after the murder of George Floyd.
They say that people need to talk through their emotions during a time like this.
“We just thought it was important to open space for people to be able to grieve together to express their anger together and to find purpose and healing in the midst of the tragedy,” said Brian Herron, the senior pastor for the church.
Toya Kemp along with her close friend Helen Hunter attended the church’s women’s ministry in the morning. They said much of the conversation was about Nichols.
“Admission of anger, of fear for our own children,” said Kemp.
“For me, as a mother, it's alarming,” said Hunter. “It's okay to not be okay.”
Herron said he is trying to open the conversation in his community on how to channel that anger in a healthy way to work for positive change to reform police culture.
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