National Guard troops activated by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp were not needed in downtown Atlanta Friday night as dozens of protesters held a peaceful demonstration following the release of bodycam video showing Memphis police officers brutally beating Tyre Nichols following a traffic stop.
A small gathering of protesters met at Centennial Olympic Park, where they chanted and demanded justice for Nichols, who died of the injuries he sustained during the beating. The five Memphis officers involved were fired and have been charged with murder and other crimes.
The Atlanta protesters held signs that read, "Jail Killer Cops!" and "End Police Terror." They were accompanied by a heavy police presence surrounding City Hall and the Georgia State Capitol. Barricades had been set up to block the entrance, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
The peaceful protest stood in contrast to last weekend's violence, when six individuals were arrested on domestic terrorism charges after rioters threw rocks, launched fireworks and burned a police vehicle in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation building. The riot was instigated by anti-police activists opposed to the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center - a $90 million police training facility for the Atlanta Police Department dubbed "Cop City" by its opponents.
TYRE NICHOLS VIDEO: MEMPHIS AUTHORITIES RELEASE FOOTAGE FROM DEADLY TRAFFIC STOP
TYRE NICHOLS' MOTHER URGES PEACEFUL PROTEST: 'I DON'T WANT US BURNING UP OUR CITIES'
City and state leaders warned that further violence would not be tolerated. Kemp declared a state of emergency in Georgia on Thursday and activated 1,000 National Guard troops in anticipation of more violence. About 100 Guardsmen were sent to Atlanta early Friday evening, deployed as a precaution in case the protests turned violent. But the protests remained peaceful and the troops were not seen in the downtown area, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
Officials condemned the actions shown in the videos released by the Memphis Police Department on Friday evening.
"Marty, the girls, and I were truly shaken and deeply saddened by the footage of events that led to Tyre Nichols' tragic death. We are praying for his family and community during this time of heartbreak," Kemp said in a statement. "As citizens express their grief and reactions to his killing, the state continues to respect the right of peaceful protest."
LAWYER OF EX-OFFICER CHARGED IN TYRE NICHOLS CASE RESPONDS TO VIDEO RELEASE
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens called the video "horrific" and said he shared "feelings of sickness and anger in the attack on Mr. Tyre Nichols."
"I am encouraged by the swift action taken by Memphis leaders to seek accountability from those responsible, and that these former officers have been charged," he said, adding that the Atlanta Police Department "has taken great strides in recent years to fully implement vital policing reforms, and that work continues."
"To those who are called to lift up their voices and demonstrate: know that the City of Atlanta and our public safety agencies are prepared to support peaceful protest in our city. I am a firm proponent of full participation, community dialogue and peaceful demonstration. I ask for peace, and your partnership to not allow agitators to try to co-opt non-violent protest and put people in harm's way," the mayor said.
Several protesters said they will return in greater numbers Saturday night, as more people see the video of Tyre Nichols' beating, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
Officials hope the protests remain peaceful.