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'I personally am affected by that': Nova Scotians express outrage over death of Tyre Nichols

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Horror, outrage, and pain are just a few words Robert Wright uses to describe his feelings after watching Tyre Nichols pinned and assaulted by officers in Memphis.

“It’s as if my brother was beaten, my cousin was beaten, my son was beaten when I see that. So yes, I personally am affected by that,” said Wright, who is the executive director of African Nova Scotian Justice Institute.

It's an incident viewed around the world.

Memphis police pulled over the 29-year-old during a traffic stop for alleged reckless driving.

As the video continued, it shows officers pulling Nichols from his car. They then used pepper spray, a taser, a baton, and their fists to beat him for three minutes.

The footage reveals him screaming for his mother.

Nichols later died at the hospital.

Nova Scotia is home to North Preston, the largest Black community in Canada.

While the incident occurred in Memphis, Wright said the incident mirrors distrust between the local Black community and police here.

“The street check issue is not fully resolved here. The dramatic over representation of Black people in those statistics suggests that there has been an overtly racist policing of Black people,” he said.

All five officers involved were also Black, which is something experts say reflects a larger issue within the system.

“You have these five police men walking into this racialized institution and this institution is saying that Black persons is inferior and you can do anything with them as you wish, so then they are still using that same racist narrative," said Assistant Professor at Carleton University Evelyn Namakula-Mayanja.

“Whether white or Black, it is the same. It is an institution that does not train people to respect the humanity of the other. In Canada you will find that it’s being taken away from Black and Indigenous people.”

Police in other provinces have spoken out condemning the actions that led to Nichols’ death, and Wright said he wants Halifax police to do the same.

As of Sunday, Halifax police hadn’t commented on the matter, but Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella released the following statement on Monday:

“The details and video of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols of Memphis and his subsequent death are deeply disturbing. On behalf of Halifax Regional Police, I condemn the actions of the officers who committed these heinous acts, and those who stood by and watched. It is heartbreaking to know that officers who took an oath to serve and protect inflicted such horrendous pain and injuries on that young man, a beloved son and a father.

“These actions are not a reflection of, nor do they define the service of hundreds of thousands of police officers. But we know that the actions of those officers will impact the trust and confidence in the entire profession.

“We support and commend the swift efforts of the Memphis Police Department to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Tyre’s family - we send them our condolences. We extend our deepest support to our fellow community members. We stand with you through this difficult time.”

Correction

This is a corrected article. A previous version incorrectly stated that four officers were involved, instead of five.

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