San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego protests the death of Tyre Nichols

The Memphis Police Department released four videos of multiple cops relentlessly beating the 29-year-old, resulting in protests across the country.
Photo by Owen Pratt
Protesters hold signs demanding justice for Tyre Nichols at Waterfront Park on Jan. 27.

The Memphis Police Department released footage of five officers brutally beating Tyre Nichols, a 29 year old unarmed Black man, eventually succumbing to his death. 

The footage — recorded on multiple devices capturing the arrest of Nichols — was released Jan. 27,  kicking off protests immediately in San Diego. 

Fifty residents came to Waterfront Park at 7 p.m. to express anger and grief over Nichols’ death with protesters holding signs saying “end police terror” and “justice for Tyre Nichols.” 

The peaceful protest was organized by the San Diego Party for Socialism and Liberty, which has chapters all over the United States. Four members of the group spoke that night, slamming police brutality and systemic racism.

“We’re out here to challenge the very institution of militarized police,” Party for Socialism and Liberty member Jose Cortez said to the crowd. “Why are they carrying weapons straight from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan into our neighborhoods, hunting our people?” 

“Tyre shouldn’t have been jumped by five officers and beaten as brutally as he was,” Cortez said. “It’s not about policing. It’s not about safety. It’s about control and power.” 

In between speaking, Cortez led various chants — with some protesters shouting “no one’s free in a racist system” and “fight back” among others.

While many cases of police brutality involve white-on-Black violence, the five officers initially disciplined were African American — this has led some to argue against race being a contributing factor. However, the speakers disagree. 

“There’s an old saying that just because somebody is your skinfolk doesn’t make them your kinfolk,” Cortez said. “They themselves were turning a blind eye and perpetuating a white supremacist, mass incarceration based system.”  

Yusef Miller, a member of the Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego, believes Nichols’ death impacts him personally.

“This issue is not that they were five Black officers or five white officers, or half-brown officers. The fact is they’re not white, they’re not Black, they’re not brown, they’re blue… It cuts me two ways. It cuts me one way that Tyre was killed. It cuts me another way to see somebody who looks like members of my family who did it.” 

Activist Cole Maravilla said that these killings are far too common, and that he chose to not watch the footage due to its gruesome nature. 

“This happens so much that I almost expect this to happen every day when I wake up,” Maravilla said.

“There’s been some pretty weak claims made that because (the officers) are Black this couldn’t have been racially motivated,” Maravilla said. “If you look at the various systems of policing in our country, they were quite literally designed to terrorize Black people. Specifically escaped or freed slaves.” 

As of Feb. 3, seven police officers and three EMT workers have been fired over Nichols’ death. Five officers are being charged with second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, one count of aggravated assault and one count of official oppression. 

The FBI and Department of Justice are currently investigating the matter.




About the Contributor
Owen Pratt
Owen Pratt, Staff Writer
Owen Pratt is a multimedia journalist based in Los Angeles and San Diego. He graduated from South Pasadena High School in 2018. Afterwards Owen attended Pasadena City College, where he earned his Associate Degree in Journalism in 2021. He loves writing about local and federal politics, movies, music and television. He strongly believes in the importance of digital media, saying it can highlight underreported and niche issues. He is a senior working towards his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. He currently writes for the Daily Aztec and helps produce the Daily Aztec Live. In his free time he enjoys listening to hip-hop, going on walks, and binging documentaries.
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San Diego protests the death of Tyre Nichols