NewsLocal News


Southwest Florida set to host vigil for Tyre Nichols

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.24.19 PM.png
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jan 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-01 07:20:24-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The fallout continues after the deadly beating of 29-year-old Trye Nichols in Memphis.

The police department announcing more officers have been relieved of duty in connection with the case, bringing the total to seven.

Two EMTS and a Lieutenant were also fired by the fire department. The EMTS were fired for failing to provide basic aid to Nichols as he lay slumped against a police cruiser visibly in distress and the Lieutenant for not getting out of the vehicle.

Nichols funeral is Wednesday in Memphis and Reverend Al Sharpton is expected to deliver the Eulogy.

In downtown Fort Myers, outside of the public library, there will be a vigil honoring the life of Nichols Wednesday at 5:30.

“Of course, we aren't related to Tyre Nichols by blood however there is a collective mourning," said Chantel Rhodes, one of the organizers for the vigil.

That collective mourning is one of the key reasons she says is behind the vigil honoring the 29-year-old.

“The city of Fort Myers recently has been showing up for social justice in a way I don't think we have seen in a very long time,” Rhodes said.

Tyre Nichols vigil

A movement she says started in 2020 after George Floyd's death. She added that the vigil is for the community to come together, mourn, and stand with those who are standing for justice.

“There was nothing legal with what they did," said Dr. David Thomas.

Thomas is a former police Chief and is currently an FGCU Forensic Science professor. He says with the release of the video showing the moments leading up to Nichols' death, he feels the conversation is evolving into looking at the system.

"In the past, the media always made it an issue of it being black and white, it was always about race," Dr. Thomas said. "For the first time, you get to see that it's about the police culture.”

Thomas says that culture means specialized units like the now disbanded Scorpio unit that stopped Nichols—-not an entire police department.

Fort Myers Police Department, which emphasized officer training did react to Wednesday's vigil.

In part the department stated :

"FMPD always stands ready to ensure anyone who wants to exercise their first amendment right has a safe place to do that. We have a successful history of working with protesters to ensure their voices are heard while keeping them and our community safe. We urge anyone who wants to exercise their rights to do so peacefully."

Fort Myers Police statement on Tyre Nichols

“I can honestly say that I appreciate their efforts too are a community feel seen in a time in justice,” Rhodes said. “I remember when Chief Diggs offered a similar situation at the time that George Floyd was murdered and what that said to us was that they were willing to open that door of conversation.”