Roanoke NAACP, community gather to honor Tyre Nichols
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - “As a mother with Black men, it’s devastating to know that this is still happening in 2023.”
The murder of Tyre Nichols by Memphis Police officers has shaken communities across the country, including in southwest Virginia. The Roanoke NAACP Youth Council hosted a news conference Wednesday to share thoughts, along with community members and law enforcement.
“Nothing will ever justify why Tyre used his last breath screaming for help. But knowing the people that could help him was actually the people killing him and beating away his last breath,” said Jayveon Tucker, president of the Roanoke NAACP Youth Council.
Speakers shared their continued frustration and sadness of seeing another Black man dead after being beaten by law enforcement.
“As an African American teenager, in the United States of America, in the year of 2023, I should not have to fear being pulled over by an officer that is supposed to protect and serve,” said Olivia Davoll, first vice president of the Youth Council.
The Roanoke Police Department and the Roanoke City Sheriff’s Office stood with the community in saying this behavior is unacceptable.
“The video for this was gut wrenching, and I am heartbroken for the Nichols family and loved ones. We’re all disgusted when someone who takes an oath to serve the community betrays those who they swore to protect in such a horrific manner,” said Chief Sam Roman, in a statement read by a Roanoke Police officer.
“This young man, he was a father, he was a son, he was a brother. I want to reassure you that law enforcement in our city, we hold each other accountable for things like this so it don’t take place in our city,” said Sheriff Antonio Hash.
Speakers also called for change.
“Reform. That’s the word that I want to throw out here today. We have to reform individuals that have hate, malice, and bad things in their heart. Because that’s the only way we can save lives,” said Dr. Brenda Hale, the Roanoke NAACP Branch president.
Hale continued by saying she’s seen many of these tragedies in her lifetime and wants that to change for the next generation.
“I would hate to think what these young youth council members are going to see in their lifetime. I’m not gonna be here forever, but their lifetime. What are they going to see? What is going to be the final moment? What is going to make the difference?”
Hale also talked about the importance of everyone valuing each other.
“We are important people, our lives have value. So therefore, if we value other people’s lives, shouldn’t the same thing be happening to us, shouldn’t they value our lives.”
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