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Memphis residents express outrage at memorial for Tyre Nichols

One neighbor — a retired police officer of 40 years — said the Memphis Police Department has gone downhill.
Posted at 4:33 AM, Jan 30, 2023

Scripps News spent Sunday morning talking to visitors at a Tyre Nichols makeshift memorial. 

They're furious with the Memphis police, but most aren't surprised.

At the corner of Castlegate Lane and Bear Creek Cove, mothers added their tokens of love and grief to the spot where Nichols was beaten to death. 

Knowing all too well that could've been one of their own children. 

"When I heard him yelling for his mom, it broke me down," said Nita Smith, a Memphis resident.

"It was just hurtful. Just knowing what happened even before seeing the video had me in tears," said Deloris Burrow, a Memphis resident. 

The corner where police repeatedly kicked Nichols in the face – and beat him with batons and bare fists – is surrounded by over a dozen homes. 

It's also directly across from a SkyCop camera, which captured the entire incident from a birds-eye view. 

"You didn't think enough to even say, 'hey, we being recorded.' They just didn't care," said Burrow. 

Hurt and fury were the dominant emotions among the crowd. 

Praylen Dickinson, a Memphis resident, was shocked by how close Nichols was to home. 

"This could have been your child right here," said Dickinson. "I mean, houses right here. Nobody came outside to help this little man, you know?" 

Alex Garcia remodeled one of the homes in a nearby cul-de-sac two years ago. 

He brought his young son, Jonathan, to pay their respects. 

Garcia says it would've been easy for neighbors to hear what was happening that night. 

"If something happened like that, I mean I see somebody else beat like that, you know, I call it," said Garcia. 

Smith, however, believes it's likely nobody wanted to get involved. 

"I mean, they're going to call the police on the police. The police are sitting out here. They are the ones doing harm," said Smith.

Scripps News knocked on several doors in the neighborhood, but no one wanted to talk on camera. 

Residents Scripps News spoke with said they didn't hear anything the night Nichols was killed. 

One neighbor — a retired police officer of 40 years — said the Memphis Police Department has gone downhill, as younger people join the force and forget their number one duty: 

"Protect and serve. That's on our card, protect and serve," she said. 

She told us it was a traffic stop gone wrong. 

"It was totally unnecessary. And it was just I couldn't believe that they were doing it the man like that," she said. 

Burrow is one of many residents at the memorial who agree that the Memphis Police Department needs serious reform. 

"I think police officers should go through a psychological evaluation to know how to deal with humans," said Burrow. 

And they – like many others – want to see justice for Nichols. So, nothing like this ever happens again. 

"Everybody can love each other. The world would be better," said Smith. 

Nichols' funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.