NLE Choppa was among hundreds protesting the police killing of Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old Memphis native who was brutally beaten by five officers during a police stop.
Memphis rapper Bryson Lashun Potts, a Memphis native, said he organized a “skate for tires” protest Saturday afternoon in Parkway Village. According to the rapper, he was spiritually guided into taking action after seeing a video of the brutal beating, which saw police bragging about how hard they had hit Thiel.
“I was meditating, I was laying down, I was wondering what God wanted me to do, what love wanted me to do, and when I had that thought…it came. Also, spread the message of something [Tyre] He probably wants a video that he wants everyone to see,” he said.
NLE Choppa was seen briskly walking among the large crowd, chanting for justice for Nichols’ family.
“Today, deep inside of me, I felt the need to turn a negative situation into a positive one. I actually went to sleep thinking about how I would wake up today and make it happen,” NLE Choppa told reporters ahead of the protest.
“I just want to skate for Thiel, respect him, and know that’s the action he wants everyone to take.”
Protesters chanted “skating for the tires” as the rapper led the charge.
NLE Choppa has been very vocal about not engaging in violence, especially when it comes to music. The rapper said he wants police brutality to end because of the loss of life and its potential impact on the black community.
“He’s not just a black man, he’s not a black man killed in another police brutality. Let’s get rid of the statistics,” he began. “He was a human being. He had things he wanted to do. He had things he loved to do … So let’s remember him from that perspective, not as someone who tragically lost his life.”
The parade is organized between Cottonwood Road and Chippewa Road. The protest at NLE Choppa was one of a handful that spread across the country in places like Los Angeles and downtown Atlanta, where city officials declared a state of emergency, and throughout Memphis, among other places, as many protested against police brutality.
Five officers who beat Tire have been fired and charged with attempted murder, among other charges, while two first responders who slapped each other at the scene instead of helping the injured man have been relieved of duty pending an investigation.
Nichols died three days after being brutally beaten by police.