Jan 29, 2023 13:33 UTC

More protests have erupted in the US city of Memphis against the killing of a young Black man, Tyre Nichols, by the police, with protesters blaming the US government for the rising violence against the Black community and saying the system is “murdering us.”

Gathered for a common cause, the residents of Memphis, which consists of 65 percent of Black people, took to the streets as they held placards reading “RIP Tyre Nichols” and chanted, ”Whose streets? Our streets!”, and “No justice, No peace”.

At one point, the demonstrators also surrounded and cat-called a police car that was monitoring the march, and shouted against it, “Say his name! Tyre Nichols”.

“It's supposed to be a system that protects us, that provides safety for us. But instead, it's killing us, murdering us, innocent lives who just began their adulthood,” lamented the protesters.

“I go around Memphis, scared, every single night. This is a place where I get my education and where I live, and so I don't want to be scared going across the street,” a protester said adding that: “I need to change to survive, just as many other 19-year-olds need to change to survive. I want to make it to 35. I want to make it past 30. I wished Tyre could have made it past 30.”

In the meantime, the police unit that included the Memphis officers involved in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols was disbanded on Saturday amid the snowballing protests. 

In a statement, the police department said it was permanently deactivating the SCORPION unit after the police chief spoke with members of Nichols' family, community leaders and other officers. 

Consisting of 40 officers, the SCORPION unit was launched in November 2021 to target "violent crime". 

Nichols’s death marks the high-profile instance of police officers' use of excessive force, as well as the latest face of a US racial justice movement galvanized by the 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.