Prayer vigil held for Tyre Nichols in South Bend

Co-Founder of BLM South Bend, Jordan Giger (gray jacket), speaks with fellow attendees at the prayer vigil for Tyre Nichols.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 12:22 AM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - On Friday night, Memphis police released the street and bodycam footage of the fatal beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, and in response, protests and prayer vigils are taking place all over the country.

Following the release of the footage, protests and vigils popped up all over the nation, with the family of Nichols asking for peaceful demonstrations.

At St. Paul Bethel Baptist Church in South Bend on Sunday night, there in attendance were praying for peace, for mothers who have lost children, for accountability, and increased oversight for law enforcement. But above all, they were praying for change.

“There are good police officers out there, and it hurts them to see what took place in Memphis, Tennessee,” one attendee said.

“We thought that holding a prayer vigil on Sunday would be very appropriate just to honor the life of Tyre,” Co-Founder of BLM South Bend Jorden Giger said.”

During the vigil, those in attendance were asked to use one word to describe what they felt while watching the disturbing video and then one word to tell what they would like to see happen in Memphis.

“What do you want for that family,” Reverend Gilbert C. Washington asked. Words like “accountability,” “justice,” and “change” were among the responses.

“We are working to change that culture, to change policies that protect officers who engage in excessive force,” Giger added.

Following the incident, five police officers were fired. And on Wednesday, those five were arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Still, Giger wants to see meaningful legislation to help prevent something like this from happening again.

“I think we begin to turn the tide when we enact proper legislation that will hold police officers accountable and when we have the courage to imagine what public safety looks like because it doesn’t need to be; it doesn’t need to end in death when these kinds of situations occur,” Giger explained. “Folks don’t need to die over minor traffic stops.”

The vigil concluded with a reading of St. Matthew’s Beatitudes and singing of the Civil Rights Movement anthem, “This Little Light of Mine.”

Nichols died in the hospital three days after the beating. Described as a family man, artist, and avid skateboarder, he leaves behind a 4-year-old son.