NEW YORK (PIX11) — In the wake of Tyre Nichols’ beating death in Memphis, a New York City civil rights advocate is calling on Mayor Eric Adams to disband a recently reinstated anti-crime unit.
“We are tired of the SWAT teams. We are tired of unnecessary deaths,” Esmeralda Simmons, a civil rights lawyer, said on PIX11 Morning News on Monday. “It’s these special tactical forces that have been responsible for a disproportionate amount of killings.”
Past “SWAT teams” were involved in the deaths of Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Eric Garner, Simmons said.
“The city needs to know we’re tired of this brutality and terrorism,” she said.
A spokesperson for Adams said he was unaware of the reinstated anti-crime units.
The video of Nichols’ arrest showed the responding officers deploying pepper spray and a stun gun, and repeatedly kicking and punching the 29-year-old Black man. Nichols can be heard yelling for his mother throughout the beating.
Five officers involved in Nichols’ death, all of whom are Black, were fired from the Memphis police department last week and were charged on Thursday with second-degree murder and other alleged crimes.
New York City protests denouncing Nichols’ death drew hundreds of people into the streets over the weekend.
Watch Simmons’ full interview in the video player.