A skate park in Sacramento, California, was dedicated on Sunday to Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who was fatally beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, during a traffic stop in January.
Nichols, who grew up in Sacramento and moved to Memphis shortly before the coronavirus pandemic, was an avid skateboarder and photographer. He spent much of his youth at the park on the outskirts of Sacramento, where he made friends and honed his skills.
“Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way. It expresses me in ways I cannot write down for people,” Nichols wrote on his website showcasing his photos.
On the night of Jan. 7, Nichols was pulled over by Memphis police on his way home from taking pictures of the sky. Just a few minutes from home, he was brutally attacked by several police officers, according to a lawsuit his family filed against the Memphis Police Department.
Nichols died three days later at a hospital. Five Memphis officers, who are all Black, were fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression for Nichols’ death.
The lawsuit his family filed in April seeks $500 million in damages for the wrongful death of their son.
The death of Nichols has raised fresh questions about police violence against unarmed Black men and sparked calls for justice and accountability.
In video footage of the beating, Nichols is heard saying he just wanted to go home, family lawyers have said. He was less than 100 yards from his mother’s house.
“We’re here to celebrate Tyre’s life and to honor him by naming this park after him,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated skate park. “But we’re also here to say that what happened to Tyre should never happen to anyone.”
The park, once a cherished sanctuary for Nichols, will now bear his name as a testament to his passion for skateboarding and photography.
“He was just a good person. He was always happy. He always had a smile on his face,” said Devin Bales, a friend of Nichols who attended the skate park dedication.
“This is not just about Tyre Nichols. This is about every Black man that has been killed by police brutality,” said Deandre Nichols, Tyre’s brother. “We want justice for Tyre and we want justice for all.”
“We hope that this park will serve as a reminder of Tyre’s legacy and his love for skateboarding,” said Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing Nichols’ family. “We also hope that it will inspire young people to pursue their passions and dreams.”
– Sacramento skate park named for Black motorist fatally beaten in police traffic stop, The Press Democrat, June 12, 2023
– Skate Park Dedicated to Tyre Nichols, Honoring a Life Cut Short, Dallas Weekly, June 12, 2023
– California skate park renamed in honor of Tyre Nichols, The Guardian, June 12, 2023
– California skate park named for Black motorist fatally beaten in police traffic stop, The Washington Post, June 11, 2023