Lexington activist reacts following Tyre Nichols incident

Activist Sarah Williams says there is still a lot of work to do to keep events like this from happening again

LEXINGTON, Ky (WTVQ)- Protests continue across the nation following the release of graphic videos that show the beating of 29-year old Tyre Nichols by Memphis police officers on January 7th. Nichols died three days after the incident.

For one local activist, it’s events like this that she’s is trying to stop.

Lexington activist Sarah Williams watched body camera video released following Nichols’ death.

“Just as a mother of six children with melanin into their skin, living in America, I did not turn on the audio,” says Nichols.

Memphis police officers say they pulled Nichols over for reckless driving. In the video, officers can be seen kicking and striking him as he called out for his mother. He died in the hospital three days later. Five officers have now been charged with his murder.

Williams says the incident brings flashbacks of the George Floyd incident in 2020, which spurred her to lead protests in the city.

“Unfortunately, as we sit here after another police murder, another brutal brutal brutal police murder, we have to wonder why? Why do we continue to see this,” says Williams.

Williams has been busy advocating for the family of Desman Laduke. Laduke was shot and killed by a Nicholasville police officer in October during a mental health crisis situation. Williams has been pushing for the Nicholasville police to be held accountable for its actions and says there should be better training during crisis situations.

She says there are similarities between the Nichols and Laduke deaths and reveals an overall culture of police departments across the country.

“For some reason when people across this country encounter people with melanin in their skin, black people, there is just this automatic disregard for life. The common thread in there is for all of those officers involved, their lack of ability to see the humanity in the person they encounter,” says Williams.

Williams says racism and white supremacy continue to have an impact in these situations.

“I think its really important. One of the key takeaways that we need to examine within ourselves, whether we are black, whether we are white, wherever we fall at in the spectrum of race, that racism white supremacy affects all of us. And can affect how we treat people around us,” says Williams.

She says now is a critical time for more accountability in policies and procedures. She also says there is still a lot of work left to do to keep these tragedies from happening again.

“Tyre Nichols murder is just an example of why we have a lot of work, urgent work that needs to be done. So that black people can live in this country free from fear of simply and encounter with police being what ends our life.”

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