Towson to host listening sessions in response to Tyre Nichols murder, videos

By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief

Towson University’s Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity and Division of Student Affairs will hold listening sessions in response to the release of the videos showing five Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols to death, university officials announced Saturday.

The videos, released by the Memphis Police Department late Friday, showed five officers holding Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, down while brutally beating him, the Associated Press reported. The officers, who are also Black, were fired and charged with murder on Jan. 20.

The campus-wide email, signed by several Towson administrators, including Provost Melanie Perreault, says the university will offer two listening sessions for those struggling to process the videos and murder.

The first session is on Monday, Jan. 30, from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Center for Student Diversity and Student Success Programs suite within the University Union. Another session will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

“The video evokes many emotions, not unlike those we’ve felt after similar videos of violence in recent years,” The campus-wide email reads. “We echo the messages of dismay and grief of so many others around Maryland and the United States, and we join our community and university partners in holding space for students, faculty and staff to share their grief and address their trauma.”

Nichols was pulled over for a traffic stop on Jan. 7 in Memphis, Tenn. Memphis Police Officers claimed the use of force was due to Nichols attempting to flee the traffic stop. However, as the Associated Press reports, authorities said there appears to be no justification for the traffic stop.

The video shows police beating Nichols with a baton, kicking and punching him several times. Nichols was also tased. He was later transported to a hospital and died on Jan. 10.

Student Government Association President Jordan Colquitt said in a statement that he hopes to see the Towson community continue to support Nichols’ family. While he supports the indictments of the police officers, he said the only true justice will be addressing excessive policing within the U.S.

“As a young Black man, I am troubled and reminded that African Americans still find ourselves demanding justice and equality – rights long denied despite being guaranteed to all citizens under the U.S. Constitution,” Colquitt said. “The death of Tyre Nichols brings to mind the unjust murders of other Black people including Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and hundreds of others.”


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