MUNCIE, Ind. - A protest movement stemming from a man's fatal beating by police in Memphis, Tennessee, made its way to Muncie on Sunday afternoon.
About a dozen representatives of the Party for Socialism and Liberation gathered outside City Hall, in part to protest the slaying of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, fatally beaten by Memphis police after a Jan. 7 traffic stop that allegedly stemmed from reckless driving.
Five Memphis officers accused of assaulting Nichols have been fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault and other crimes.
The protestors in Muncie on Sunday held up signs to motorists driving by on High Street, some of whom responded by honking their vehicles' horns.
"The people demand: End Police Terror," read some signs. Others called for justice for Nichols, with the added message, "Jail killer cops!"
"We are here to bring the fight to Muncie because no one's taken up that space yet here," said Mario Gaona, the emcee at Sunday's event. He said the Party for Socialism and Liberation had engaged in demonstrations across the nation in the wake of Nichols' death,
"We've got about six local organizers who felt compelled to do this," Gaona said, adding that all but one of the participants in Sunday's demonstration were from the Muncie area.
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"We're here to show that the working class can lead the charge on this, on our own," he said. "The only answer we have in our country for any problem, nor (non-problem), is the police. And that's what we're here to change."
Sunday's event was decidedly more low key than local protests held in 2020, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. One Muncie protest that June drew an estimated 2,000 people to the steps of City Hall.
The Floyd killing had racial overtones. Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis officer convicted of murder and manslaughter in the African American's death, was white.
The killing of Nichols, who was also Black, has resulted in murder charges against five Black officers.
Gaona maintained the Memphis killing nonetheless had racial overtones.
He said the Party for Socialism and Liberation had issued a statement indicating that "because these police were Black does not hide that police brutality is still a racialized issue."
"We have a long history in this country of co-opting violence," Gaona said.
Like the 2020 protests in Muncie, Sunday's event featured chants by participants.
"No justice, no peace, no racist police," was one of the phrases repeated.
Douglas Walker is a news reporter at The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Muncie Star Press: Muncie protestors target Memphis police killing