California skate park named for Black motorist fatally beaten in police traffic stop
Jun 11, 2023, 3:43 PM
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Officials dedicated a California skate park Sunday in honor of Tyre Nichols, a Black man who spent much of his youth in the state and was killed last January in what prosecutors said was a fatal beating by police in Tennessee during a traffic stop.
An avid skateboarder, Nichols spent much time as a youth at the park on the outskirts of Sacramento. City officials and others held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated skate park now named for Nichols.
Nichols moved to Memphis, Tennessee, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic and lived there with his mother and stepfather. He enjoyed photography — especially taking photos of landscapes and sunsets.
“Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way. It expresses me in ways I cannot write down for people,” Nichols wrote on his website showcasing his photos.
On the night of Jan. 7, Memphis police pulled over Nichols on his way home from taking pictures of the sky. Just a few minutes from home, he was brutally attacked by several police officers, according to a lawsuit Nichols’ family filed against Memphis police.
Nichols died three days later at a hospital. Five Memphis officers were fired and have been charged with murder and other offenses in the death. The officers, who are all Black, each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
The lawsuit his family filed against Memphis police in April seeks $500 million in damages.
The death of Nichols, a 29-year-old father and FedEx worker, has raised fresh questions about police violence against unarmed Black men.
In video footage of the beating, Nichols is heard saying he just wanted to go home, family lawyers have said. He was less than 100 yards (90 meters) from his mother’s house.