WASHINGTON — Security efforts are ramping up in the District Friday in response to rallies over the release of body camera footage showing deadly force used by police against a 29-year-old Memphis man.
Tyre Nichols died on Jan. 10 after being brutally beaten by police officers three days earlier during a traffic stop. Five former officers are now charged with second-degree murder. Bodycam video from the incident is expected to be released to the public Friday sometime after 7 p.m., and Memphis authorities say they are braced for public unrest.
In D.C., heightened security measures were taken, with the entire MPD force (more than 3,000 officers) activated and fencing installed late Thursday night around the U.S. Capitol. MPD said they expected to have 600 extra people on the ground, including more than two dozen platoons from the Civil Disturbance Unit. Officers will remain on 12-hour shifts until the activation protocol is lifted.
MPD, which has been sanctioned by courts in the past for arresting people at peaceful, free speech protests, said it respects the community's right to demonstrate and peacefully protest, but "will not tolerate any unlawful behavior during the demonstrations." Police say they will take swift action should anyone break the law.
Civil rights group "Harriet's Dreams" organized a rally at 13th and K Streets starting at 5:30 p.m., while a separate protest was staged in front of the White House in Lafayette Square around 7 p.m.
In Memphis, Nichols' family said they want the video to be made public, but urge the public to resist violence.
"We want peace," Nichols' stepfather Rodney Wells said. "We do not want any type of uproar, any type of disturbance. That's what the family wants. That's what the community wants."
Nichols' mother said she has not been able to bring herself to watch the video, and warns parents that children should not see it.
"To the five officers that killed my son... I'm praying for you and your family," RowVaughn Wells said. "This shouldn't have happened ... No mother should go through what I went through the violent way I lost my son."
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