Tyre Nichols: Protesters demanding justice gather across New York, New Jersey

Protesters gathered across New York and New Jersey Saturday following the release Friday of body cam video showing Memphis police officers brutally beating Tyre Nichols.

A rally was held at noon in Newark at the Lincoln statue located at 12 Springfield Ave.

In New York City, a justice ride was held at 2:30 p.m. at Union Square, along with a march at 5 p.m. at Washington Square Park.

Protesters gathered in Times Square and Union Square in Manhattan Friday night to express their outrage over the police killing of Nichols.

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People gather to protest against police brutality on January 28, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress)

Protesters brought traffic to a standstill and could be heard chanting, "Say his name! Tyre Nichols!" 

RELATED: Tyre Nichols: Memphis police disbands special unit behind beating death

The NYPD is preparing for a possible weekend of protest across the city. A few arrests were made Friday night after protesters vandalized a police car. 

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NYPD officers drag a demonstrator off a car as people protest on Jan. 27, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Earlier in the day Friday, Mayor Eric Adams, a former member of the NYPD, had reiterated that while New Yorkers had a right to protest the decision, they needed to do so peacefully.

"It is a personal and professional painful moment for me, as a victim of police abuse a child, I know the impact of it, and I know that the years I've spent recruiting and encouraging different groups to be part of the noble profession of policing," Adams continued. "What it appears is that these officers tarnished much of the work that many of us attempted to accomplish."

Protests had already been taking place in Times Square and in Union Square when the video was released just after 7 p.m. on Friday.

Nichols died three days after a Jan. 7 confrontation with five police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, leaving his 4-year-old son without a father and his family without many answers.

Nichols' family members and their lawyers said footage of the incident shows officers savagely beating the FedEx worker for three minutes in an assault that the legal team likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.

The officers, all of whom are Black, were charged Thursday with murder and other crimes.

Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis described the officers' actions as "heinous, reckless and inhumane," and said Friday that her department has been unable to substantiate the reckless driving allegation that prompted the stop.

"As far as I know today, I do believe that the stop itself was very questionable," she told ABC's "Good Morning America."

As a precaution, Memphis-area schools canceled all after-class activities and postponed an event scheduled for Saturday morning. Other early closures included the city power company's community offices and the University of Memphis.

Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, warned supporters of the "horrific" nature of the video but pleaded for peaceful protests.

"I don’t want us burning up our city, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for," she said Thursday. "If you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully."

Davis also urged calm after the video’s release.

"None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens," she said.

Associated Press wire services helped contribute to this report.