Protesters gather in Hollywood and downtown LA, demanding justice for Tyre Nichols

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Sunday, January 29, 2023
Tyre Nichols death: Protesters gather in Hollywood and downtown LA
Demonstrators gathered in downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood to protest the beating death of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Demonstrators gathered in downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood on Saturday, one day after property was defaced at a gathering outside LAPD headquarters to protest the beating death of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers.

Traffic in Hollywood was impacted about 8:30 p.m. when a group of protesters marched from Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street to the area of Cahuenga and Hollywood boulevards and back to Sunset and Vine.

Police said the group briefly blocked traffic, sprayed graffiti and shattered windows at several businesses, and damaged multiple bus stop shelters.

"A small group has gathered in Downtown Los Angeles. The flow of traffic has not been affected," the department tweeted at 11:23 a.m. "The Los Angeles Police Department remains committed to ensuring all can exercise their 1st Amendment Right."

The LAPD later tweeted at 12:15 p.m. that "another small group" had gathered in the Hollywood area.

Shortly before 2 p.m., police said the group in downtown Los Angeles "peacefully exercised their 1st Amendment Right and dispersed shortly after. Continue to monitor for updates."

The gathering at police headquarters on Friday night developed following the release of graphic video depicting the fatal beating of Nichols on Jan. 7. The five Memphis police officers have since been fired and charged with murder.

On most weekends, Tyre Nichols would head to the city park, train his camera on the sky and wait for the sun to set. "Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way. It expresses me in ways I cannot write down for people," he wrote on his website.

Some in the crowd surrounded parked police cars -- banging on them and smacking windows -- but no arrests were made and most left after being warned by officers at the scene, authorities said.

The group had marched through downtown Los Angeles carrying Black Lives Matter banners and smartphones before gathering at First and Main streets shortly after 8 p.m. for a candlelight vigil for Nichols and also Keenan Anderson, who died in LAPD custody Jan. 6 after being repeatedly shot with a Taser.

Protesters knocked down metal protective barriers and someone spray painted the word "kills" on the building under the words Los Angeles Police Department.

"Last night, a group of about 60 people gathered in front of the Los Angeles Police Headquarters Facility to hold a candlelight vigil. The vast majority conducted themselves in a civil manner," LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement Saturday. "A small portion of this group, intent on disruption, later vandalized the building and two police vehicles.

"Fortunately, no police officers or demonstrators were injured. There were no arrests.

The Memphis police chief disbanded the city's so-called Scorpion unit on Saturday, citing a "cloud of dishonor" from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Nichols to death.

Police Director Cerelyn "CJ" Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying she listened to Nichols' relatives, community leaders and uninvolved officers in making the decision. Her announcement came as the nation and the city struggled to come to grips with the violence of the officers, who are also Black. The video renewed doubts about why fatal encounters with law enforcement keep happening despite repeated calls for change.

Protestors marching though downtown Memphis cheered when they heard the unit had been dissolved.