The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Sacramento native Tyre Nichols gone, but not forgotten
Ryan Thomas (left) and Nathan Bernal (right) observe guest speakers at the Home Going Celebration for Tyre Nichols held at the Sac Ramp Skate Shop on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

A home going celebration for Tyre Nichols in his hometown of Sacramento brought together friends and family on Feb. 4 at Sac Ramp Skate Shop to honor the 29-year-old, who died after being assaulted by five police officers in Memphis in January. 

“Nobody should ever have to deal with this kind of pain,” said Zenobia Flagg, a family friend of Nichols who attended the event.

Members of the Nation of Islam speak to attendees at the home going celebration for Tyre Nichols held at the Sac Ramp Skate Shop on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023.  Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

On Jan. 7, Nichols was on his way home from watching the sunset at a nearby farm, according to an ABC news interview with Nichols’s mom, RowVaughn Wells. He would go every weekend and take pictures of the sun setting, sometimes bringing his skateboard along as well.

Police officers stopped Nichols for suspected reckless driving. Body cam footage captured the officers chasing a handcuffed Nichols down after he ran away from being tased and pepper sprayed.

Nichols was then assaulted by the police officers. According to a timeline by ABC News, it took emergency services 25 minutes to arrive, and by then, Nichols was slumped down, semi-unconscious from his bruises. Nichols died in the hospital after three days of being in critical condition.

All five officers have been fired by the police department and charged with second-degree murder.

During the recent event in Sacramento, many attendees discussed how, unlike other instances of police violence against Black men, the main perpetrators in Nichols’s death were Black. 

Sacramento community members attend the home going celebration for Tyre Nichols held at the Sac Ramp Skate Shop on Saturday, Feb. 4 2023. 
Nichols was an avid skateboarder and a recent victim of police brutality in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo credit: Manuel Figueroa / [email protected]

“To find out they [the officers] were Black, that hit a whole nother nerve in my body. … It was a different kind of pain cause it’s like … there’s already enough hate to Black and brown people and then to see that happen … it just gave me chills,” said Flagg.

But some in attendance made the point that police violence stems from white supremacy, which is why even Black officers — who are part of the supremacist system — can also take part in police brutality.

Keyan Bliss, a member of the Anti Police-Terror Project said during the Sacramento event that, “[The police force’s] primary purpose and goal has been to not actually provide public safety, but to maintain public order, which, as it stands, is still an order that is rooted in the principles of white supremacy.”

Bliss said that more police training won’t solve the problem. “We don’t need more Black police officers or a diverse police force,” he said. “What we need is a fundamental transformation of the culture and institutions of law enforcement.”

“Until we fundamentally shift the underlying culture that’s rooted in every law enforcement, especially here in Sacramento, nothing’s really gonna change,” said Bliss. “We’ll see this happening another time.”

Debra Crumpton, president of the Los Rios Black Faculty and Staff Association, said in an email to her colleagues after the news of Nichols’s death, “It is my prayer that as we individually and collectively prepare for all that will come next, that we do so with candor, courage, and commitment to actively rail against all forms of institutional racism everywhere it lives.”

In an email to Los Rios Community College District staff after the killing, Chancellor Brian King — along with the presidents of the four district — stated, “The emotions that this incident evokes are unfortunately all too familiar, as we struggle to understand how this can keep happening. Sadness. Anger. Confusion. Despair. 

“Tyre may have left Sacramento years ago, but his killing will no doubt leave a lasting mark on our community and many others around our nation where communities of color suffer through injustice every day,” the statement read.

The message also included information on how students struggling with the death of Nichols can access mental health resources via TimelyMD or the Los Rios college Health and Wellness Centers.

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Express

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sacramento City College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Express

Comments (1)

All The Express Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • X

    XanhFeb 27, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    I appreciate you sharing the key point of this brutality is white supremacy and although a very heavy topic, it was very straightforward of what happened and not a retraumatiIng article.