Over 2,000 miles away from Memphis, Tennessee, about 20 protestors gathered at the Martin Luther King Plaza at 2 E. Oak St. in Stockton on Sunday to demand justice in the death of 29-year-old Memphis resident Tyre Nichols - and to call for an end to police brutality.
"How many more?" Nancy Robles, a Central Valley community organizer, asked those who gathered. "How many more people have to be executed by the police on the streets until it's enough? How many more Black mothers do we have to see crying on national television because they just lost a son? How many more of these protests until something changes?"
Nichols, a Black man and a Sacramento native, died three days after being beaten by five Memphis Police Department officers during a traffic stop on Jan. 7.
The officers involved in Nichols' fatal beating - Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Tadarrius Bean - were fired on Jan. 20 and now face second-degree murder charges, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression, and one count of aggravated assault.
Body camera footage of Nichols' confrontation with police was released by Memphis city officials on Friday, sparking a national outcry and protests in various cities across the country - including in Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The footage showed Nichols being pepper sprayed, kicked in the head while being restrained, punched and struck by a baton multiple times.
Janiyah Davis, a Modesto resident and advocate for police reform, attended the protest in Stockton. Davis said Nichols' death and recent officer-involved shootings have made her feel "hopeless."
"At the same time, it makes me feel like our mission is that much more important," Davis said. "It's obvious policy is not going to change anything. We've been doing this policy thing for centuries and it's obvious that police brutality is going nowhere at all."
Jessica Salas, a Central Valley community organizer, noted that the family of Antwane Burrise - a Black Stockton man who was shot and killed by police while inside his vehicle in the parking lot of the Pavilions Apartments on Consumnes Drive in 2020 - is still waiting for justice.
The Stockton Police Department officers involved in Burrise's shooting - David Wells, Blake Epperson and Jon Griffin - have not been charged in his death.
"We still have families seeking justice in this town, even as we're seeing people being murdered across the country," Salas said. "It's just so infuriating and it's disgusting that it keeps happening over and over."
Record reporter Hannah Workman covers news in Stockton and San Joaquin County. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @byhannahworkman. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at https://www.recordnet.com/subscribenow.
This article originally appeared on The Record: Tyre Nichols remembered at Stockton protest over police brutality