Sharpton calls for peaceful protests over Tire Nichols death; crowd gathers Saturday night in Washington Square Park

The Rev. Al Sharpton called for more protests on Saturday over the death of Tire Nichols – and insisted they be peaceful, saying violent protests will only “help the police get away with what they did”.

“What (the police) want to do is see violence and say, ‘This is why the police should do what they did. See how out of control they are?’” Sharpton said at his House of Justice in Harlem.

“Don’t play into the narrative and see how that would help them defend what they did,” Sharpton urged protesters.

Instead, Sharpton encouraged protesters to abide by the wishes of Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells. “She called for peace. She showed a mercy that was not shown to her,” he said. “We will continue to protest, but we will do it non-violently.”

Sharpton was speaking the morning after three people were arrested and two officers were attacked in Times Square during Friday evening marches. The protests were held when Memphis, Tennessee, officials released a video showing police beating Nichols during a traffic stop on Jan. 7, letting him go crucial minutes without medical attention.

Nichols, who is also black, died three days after beaten Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis said he “committed acts that defy humanity.”

A Protester Stands On Top Of An Nypd Police Vehicle In New York'S Times Square During A Protest Following The Release Of Video Footage Of Tire Nichols' Death On Friday, January 27, 2023.

Police prepared for another round of protests in New York over the weekend. A protest that started at 5 p.m. Saturday in Washington Square Park grew to 200 people. At 8:40 PM, the group was at Sixth Ave. marched into the city through Herald Square and on to Times Square.

“It was a brutal attack and I’m here to show support to the family and the world and the country that there are people who still feel things need to change,” said Ryan Clark, 38, a resident of Brooklyn said Saturday’s protest was the first he attended over the Nichols case.

“You always want to hope that things will change. As a country, we are still developing, but we are not there yet,” said Clark.

“It could have been someone from my own family. All we want is equality for all,” said Karen Deshields, 23, a Lower East Side resident.

“The killing of black and brown people must stop. We have to fear black cops as well as white cops,” protester Desmond Marceta said.

At around 9:20 p.m., the protest ended on the north side of Times Square, on the steps atop the TKTS booth near the Father Duffy statue.

On Friday night, three people were arrested in Midtown during protests after one person, 33-year-old Argenis Rivera, jumped on the hood of a parked NYPD cruiser and then kicked the windshield, officials said.

All three arrests took place on Seventh Ave. and 43rd St. in Midtown around 8:15 p.m. after Rivera jumped on the hood of a parked NYPD police car and stomped against the windshield, officials said.

Riders Will Start A Justice For Tire Nichols Ride From Union Square On Saturday, January 28, 2023 In The Bronx, New York. The Ride Was Hosted By Street Riders Nyc. (Barry Williams For New York Daily News)

Rivera stood atop the cruiser for several minutes before taunting the officer behind the wheel and kicking the windshield, turning it into cobwebs. He then bent down and began to hit the windshield as police grabbed his legs and pulled him out of the car.

Police charged Rivera with criminal mischief. Rivera has a criminal record for assault and robbery and was recently arrested for strangling someone in October, law enforcement sources said.

Rivera’s mother had no idea he was in police custody on Saturday. “I’m coming home. I waited, waited. He wasn’t there,” she said. “He’s very quiet. He’s nonviolent.”

“He defends the police every time,” said the suspect’s 59-year-old mother, who did not give her name. “He never talks about the police, no.”

When police arrested Rivera, protester Candy Nicole, 25, tried to push them away, punching two officers in the face as she tried to stop the arrest, police said.

The Windshield Of An Nypd Police Vehicle Was Smashed In Times Square During A Protest Friday After The Release Of Video Footage Of The Memphis Police Assault On Tire Nichols.

Police arrested her for assault as a hate crime for making anti-police statements when she punched one of the officers on the nose. Neither police officer was seriously injured. The arrest was Nicole’s first in New York, police said.

A third protester, Katherine Stone, 34, was also caught for trying to deface the same cruiser.

At arraignment Saturday in Manhattan Criminal Court, Rivera’s bail was set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bail on charges of misdemeanor criminal mischief. Nicole was released on bail by personal admission. Stone was ticketed for an agency appearance and is expected to answer charges in court next month.

The three arrested were among Union Square protesters who began marching north along Seventh Ave., police said. Another Friday protest that started in Times Square halted traffic along Broadway as participants marched toward Penn Station.

A Woman Was Arrested Friday In Times Square During A Protest After The Release Of Video Footage Showing The Death Of Tire Nichols.

Sharpton called on Saturday for a new vote on the federal George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which will end qualified immunity for officers charged with using excessive force.

“If the cops feel like they have no skin in the game, they’ll act the way they want,” he said, disgusted that Nichols was killed by five black police officers.

“We fought to get blacks into the department. We thought if we brought you in you’d stand up and treat us the way you treat others, but you’re imitating the worst of the police and now you’re going to pay the price others pay,” Sharpton said. “You may be my color, but you’re not my kind.”

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