Central Florida leaders hold vigil for Tyre Nichols in Orlando

Vigil was held at Lake Eola Park

ORLANDO, Fla. – National and state lawmakers led a candlelight vigil over the weekend to honor and reflect on the life of Tyre Nichols who died after being beaten by former Memphis police officers.

Chanting the name Tyre Nichols and holding up candles, dozens of demonstrators descended on Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando Saturday to honor the life of the 29-year-old.

One demonstrator said, “we are here today because we all know that Tyre Nichols deserved to live, we know everyone who has lost their lives at the hands of police brutality and gun violence should be here today.”

Nichols died earlier last month after being beaten by five former Memphis police officers. All have been terminated and charged for his murder.

Saturday’s vigil was preceded by protests nationwide last month after videos were released showing Nichols’ last moments.

At his funeral this week, the Vice President called on Congress to pass the George Floyd in Policing Act.

“We have to be honest. Elections have consequences,” Maxwell Frost said.

U. S. Rep. Maxwell Frost says he doesn’t see the act passing in the next two years, saying the Democratic Party simply does not have the numbers.

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Frost says the former Memphis officers were already highly trained and had body cameras, but says both are still needed to get results.

“What that shows me is we need more, and I don’t know what exactly that looks like, but we need the conversation to figure it out,” Frost said.

A conversation that some demonstrators hope happen soon.

“You just go day by day, you want to stop it. You want to stop reading these names that happen, you want to stop seeing these videos that resurface, you just have to keep on going,” Jaydyn Winston said.

State Rep. Anna Eskamani encouraged people to get more politically involved saying a path forward is a path taken together with the community as well as law enforcement.

“At the end of the day, you ask the average person, they want to be able to call 911 and have help, that’s clear, but they also want to feel safe around police and the reality is not every person feels safe around police,” Eskamani said.

Now the Black Democratic Caucus has met with President Joe Biden to discuss police reform.

At this time, they have not released details of that conversation, but did note to get any bill across the finish line they will need help from the other side of the aisle.

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About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.