Rochester faith leaders remember Tyre Nichols and address local policing

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. Faith leaders in Rochester gathered Tuesday night.

They remembered the life of Tyre Nichols who died after being brutally beaten by Memphis Police. They also talked about closing the divide between police and the community. The service was held at Mount Olivet Baptist Church.

Dr. Rickey Harvey, Pastor of the Church helped to organize the special prayer service. Besides trying to keep the peace right here in Rochester, Pastor Harvey is praying for Memphis where he was actually born and raised.

“What we really want to do is to remember him as one, a young Black man who was living a life, and trying to enjoy life,” said Pastor Benjamin Cox.

Although they never personally met 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, he will always be remembered for the torturous beating that ended his life. Pamela Williams attended Tuesday night’s prayer service at Mount Olivet Baptist Church for one reason.

“I pray for his mother, OK? I don’t know how it is to lose a son, OK, and I can’t imagine how she’s feeling, and tomorrow she got to bury her child,” said Williams.

Five Memphis Police officers are accused of beating the 29-year-old so severely earlier this month, he ended up dying of his injuries. Even law enforcement is troubled by the brutality.

“I go through phases like anybody else you know. First denial. This cannot possibly be happening again, and I’m still in the second phase called anger. I’m still frustrated. I’m still disgusted by what occurred,” said Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter.

Police body-worn cam video sparked protests all across the country. Pastor Cox says this incident is no longer racial.

“It becomes a social racial issue because we have five Black officers who attacked, and again brutally, and viciously attacked a young Black man,” said Cox.

The Faith Leadership Roundtable coming together to help fill the gap between the community and law enforcement.

“We want to make sure, through prayer, through education, through inspiration, through coming together, through talking, and promoting love that we don’t have that in our city again because our city is not void of the same thing that’s happening in Memphis right now,” said Pastor Harvey.

Faith leaders want to community to walk away with one important message.

“That there is a sense of community and closeness, and that we want to try not to have such a great divide because we are working on trying to accomplish a greater community, with relationships between community and law enforcement,” said Pastor Cox.

The five officers accused of killing Tyre Nichols have all posted bond.