Spike: Tyre Nichols protests were peaceful because police were held accountable

Jan 31, 2023, 1:34 PM | Updated: 2:32 pm


People beginning to gather at Cal Anderson Park to protest the death of Tyre Nichols on Friday night. (Courtesy of the Jason Rantz Show)

(Courtesy of the Jason Rantz Show)

After footage of five Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols to death was released Friday, police departments across the county issued statements and warnings of possible destructive protests, similar to property damage that happened during the George Floyd protests of 2020.

The Seattle Police Department is planning, preparing, and staffing to provide public safety throughout the city should police resources be needed,” an SPD spokesperson said in a statement to KIRO Newsradio Friday.

Instead, protests in Seattle remained relatively tame, not reaching the scale many predicted, with little to no destruction taking place.

Seattle protests tame following release of Tyre Nichols footage

On KIRO Nights, host Spike O’Neill spoke about the protests around the country that all remained peaceful. While there was the occasional issue with the protests, it was isolated to individuals and lacked the scale of some previous protests.

“There were protests in numerous cities around the country, including here in Seattle, but it wasn’t violent,” said Spike. “It wasn’t destructive. You can, of course, see isolated incidents. I saw somebody push a photographer who was taking a video of a protest, and somebody reached out and kind of pushed the camera away. And you know, they tried to make a lot out of that. But that wasn’t the case. That wasn’t the scale of violent protests and destruction that people were predicting.”

Spike has an explanation for why people had expectations of them getting much more destructive and why they didn’t escalate this time.

“We had peaceful protests in numerous cities. And due in large part to the fact that the officers involved in this were charged very quickly. I think that’s why we didn’t have violent protests,” Spike said. “That’s why we didn’t have property destruction. Because it seems to me the authorities are doing the right thing in how they’re handling this, how they’re handling these officers and the extra different peripheral folks involved in this incident. It seems to me it’s often the lack of accountability.”

To that point, in order to continue the lack of destruction in the wake of these protests, police need to continue to be held accountable in situations like this. If the public does not perceive that justice is reached in the trial of the five officers that killed Nichols, then the protests could escalate.

“If they’re [not found] guilty then, (it seems, from the video that they are) that justice [isn’t] served [by] some technicality — that’s when there will be trouble. That’s when there will be protests and violent protests and property strikes in the street.”

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Spike: Tyre Nichols protests were peaceful because police were held accountable