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Death of Tyre Nichols: Calls for changes to policing echo at vigils in Queens and Yonkers

Tyre Nichols death: Vigils held in Queens and Yonkers
Tyre Nichols death: Vigils held in Queens and Yonkers 02:32

NEW YORK -- The calls for justice have rung far and wide following the death of Tyre Nichols.

In the wake of protests, vigils were held Monday night in remembrance of the 29-year-old.

At one in Queens, it was a chance for New Yorkers to reflect on yet another young Black man's death at the hands of law enforcement.

"Why? Why are they doing this?" one woman said. "You know, I just don't know what else to say." 

"We need to pray for this mother," another said.

"To see that brutality for no reason, it breaks my heart because he did not deserve it," another added.

"If we are to say Black lives matter, if we are to mean it, then it begins with the hard, painful work of recognizing how many Black lives we have lost to police violence and brutality," City Councilman Shekar Krishnan said.

READ MOREMemphis police say 7 officers have been relieved of duty after Tyre Nichols' death

The diverse faces that made up the crowd shared their stories of fear, fear that their loved ones could end up suffering a similar fate. They remembered the life of Nichols and were forceful in saying it's time for change, including here at home.

"Tell the police department, tell the mayor, get them out. You know who they are," said Lori Zeno, executive director of Queens Defenders.

The raw emotion that was shared on the steps of Queens Borough Hall was a reminder that even though the tragedy occurred more than 1,000 miles away, the brutality caught on camera is something many have seen play out over and over again, including here at home.

"Took 20 minutes for an ambulance to show up. You tell me Black lives matter in this country," Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said.

READ MORETyre Nichols killing sparks renewed calls in Congress for police reform

In Yonkers, a group gathered waving a Black Lives Matter flag, similarly calling for change.

"We need police reform. We need police accountability. We need to see our mothers no longer crying on TV and burying our Black males," Kisha Skipper said.

"We keep hearing training, training, training, but, obviously, the training is not working in a lot of locales," George McAnanama said.

"We need to be more vigilant as elected and as a community to make sure that this never happens again," Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano added.

As cars honked in support and as candles were lit, it's clear many have felt moved by the Nichols' tragedy and hope coming together in the wake of it can help drive meaningful reform.

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