ENC social justice activists and community leaders react to video of Tyre Nichols’ death

PASQUOTANK COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -The emotional impact of the disturbing video footage of Memphis native Tyre Nichols being severely beaten is being felt by those in Eastern Carolina.

“Here we go again,” said Keith Rivers, Pasquotank County NAACP President.

Video showed five Memphis police officers attacking the 29-year-old, which started during a traffic stop after police say Nichols was driving recklessly.

However, it turned into something more serious as footage showed the officers violently beating Nichols, who later died, and all five officers charged with murder.

“You can’t be above the law because you’re law enforcement,” Rivers said.

Seeing the video of Nichols’ death affected many, especially those in Pasquotank County. In 2021, Andrew Brown Jr. was shot in the back of the head by Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Deputies.

The district attorney deemed his death justified saying Brown hit officers with his vehicle.

However, body camera footage of his death was not released like Nichols’ due to North Carolina laws. In Tennessee, body or dash camera footage is open for public record, but not in NC.

“Those recordings are not public records as a matter of law in North Carolina,” said Mike Tadych, North Carolina Press Association General Counsel. “They’re also not personnel records, which was the basis that we would be denied the access.”

It’s almost been two years since Brown’s death, but the fight for the full release of the video continues. Rivers says it still hurts.

“Can you imagine what it feels like to live in Pasquotank County,” Rivers said. “You had a sheriff, and deputies violate the sheriff’s 300 policy on the use of deadly force. They went right back to work.”

Brown and Nichols deaths came at the hands of law enforcement officers, which some feel has become a recurring sight in America.

However, Rivers believes Nichols’ fatal beating is different because all of the officers were African American.

“We know there’s a double standard,” Rivers said. “These law enforcement, we’re going to go ahead and do justice on them. However, when it comes to white officers and blacks then we tend to move a little slower.”

Rivers says Friday night’s video release of Nichols’ death shows how unjust the state of North Carolina is because he feels that Brown’s death needs to be shown in the same light.

President Biden reportedly told Nichols’ mother that he’s going to make a push for Congress to pass the George Floyd Act, in order to “to get this under control.”