Friends of Tyre Nichols have released a moving video of him skateboarding as they urged the public to remember him as ‘living his best life.’
The two-minute clip, which shows Nichols performing skateboarding tricks on a bright and sunny day, has gone viral on social media as users paid tribute to the ‘beautiful’ boy.
Graphic bodycam footage of Nichols being fatally beaten to death by five police officers was published on Friday and showed the 29-year-old repeatedly crying out for his mother.
But ahead of its release, friends of the keen skateboarder and father said they wanted their own video footage of him to overshadow the ‘heinous’ bodycam footage of the moments before his death.
Nichols was savagely beaten to death by five cops in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier this month
Posting on Twitter, Mai Perkins wrote: ‘Before the Memphis Police Dept. releases the video of 5 MPD officers murdering Tyre Nichols during a routine traffic stop, and that heinous video inevitably goes viral, I want to amplify THIS video of Tyre LIVING his best life.’
She added: ‘By posting this video of Tyre Nichols practicing his craft I wanted to extend to him in death the #DIGNITY4BlackBodies that he deserved in life.
‘I knew once the body cam was released, chances of wiping those images from our psyche would be impossible.’
Social media users agreed with the sentiment.
One wrote: ‘This is how he should be remembered. Sweet man just living his best skater life. My heart is breaking for his mom and family.’
Another said: ‘Thank you for honoring the living of a life rather than giving airtime to the sub-humans who thought they’d get away with the heinous taking of a life.’
Footage of Tyre showing off his skating tricks has also been released by his friends and family so he can be remembered ‘practicing his craft’
Tyre was known as a keen skater who recorded himself showing off his impressive tricks
Friends and family have described Nichols as a ‘free spirit’ and a keen skateboarder.
Longtime friend Angela Paxton told local paper The Commercial Appeal: ‘He was his own person and didn’t care if he didn’t fit into what a traditional Black man was supposed to be in California.
‘He had such a free spirit and skating gave him his wings.’
Nichols was stopped by Memphis Police on January 7 for suspected reckless driving.
Footage shows multiple unmarked cop cars surrounding Nichols’ as officers drag him from the driver’s seat as one yells, ‘Get the f*** out of the f****** car.’
Nichols was hospitalized and died of his injuries three days later in the city where he lived with his mother and stepfather and worked at FedEx.
All five officers involved in the killing faced second-degree murder charges, with the district attorney saying that though they played different roles, ‘they are all responsible.’
Nichols, 29, died three days after he was admitted to the hospital this month following a brutal beating by five Memphis Police officers
Tyre’s mother RowVaughn Wells posted the GoFundMe with a moving tribute on Friday, and by Sunday, the figure had passed $1million
The Memphis Police Department on Saturday disbanded the SCORPION unit to which the officers belonged, as protests took place in U.S. cities a day after harrowing video of the attack was released.
Scorpion stands for Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in our Neighborhoods.
The Memphis police chief, Cerelyn ‘CJ’ Davis, disbanded the unit on Saturday.
‘It is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the Scorpion unit,’ she said in a statement.
A GoFundMe page set up for Nichols has now amassed more than $1million.
His mother wrote on the page: ‘My son, Tyre Nichols, was pulled over for suspected ‘reckless driving’ on January 7, 2023. There is no evidence to substantiate this claim.
All five cops were fired on January 20 and on January 26 were arrested and charged with Nichols’ murder as well as kidnapping, assault and misconduct
Almost a thousand of people gathered at the Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland, California, last night for protests
‘Further, police claim that my son left the scene on foot. It turns out that he was just trying to get to my house for safety — which was only a few blocks away from where the incident happened.
‘My baby was just trying to make it home to be safe in my arms. Tyre was unarmed, nonthreatening, and respectful to police during the entire encounter!’
The grieving mother posted a photo of Tyre lying in hospital with his face battered after the arrest and shortly before he succumbed to his injuries.
She added: ‘During my son’s interaction with the police, they beat him beyond recognition until he became unconscious.’
She added: ‘His cousin saw him in the hospital, swollen and disfigured, like “he was a scary monster”.’
Nichols’ mother hailed him as ‘gentle, kind and joyful’ and a keen skater.
She said: ‘He was known as someone you know when he comes through the door he wants to give you a hug and that he wouldn’t hurt a fly.’
‘He had never been in trouble with the law, not even a parking ticket. He was an honest man, a wonderful son, and kind to everyone. He was quirky and true to himself, and his loss will be felt nationally.’