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Family, friends hold memorial for Tyre Nichols in Natomas, push for new law

Memorial held for Tyre Nichols in Natomas
Memorial held for Tyre Nichols in Natomas 02:44

SACRAMENTO – As people took to the streets to cry out for justice in the name of Tyre Nichols, away from the protests, Anderson Williams remembered all the times he spent at the Regency Skatepark in Natomas with his friend.

"Tyre was just a stand-up guy, down-to-earth, very passionate, cared for others," he said.

The 29-year-old father and Sacramento native is being remembered for his love of photography and skateboarding. Despite moving to Memphis, Tenn. Nichols' friends said he constantly kept in touch.

It seemed Nichols had a new dream on the horizon based on Williams' last conversations with him.

"We sat on the phone for like 2-3 hours just talking skate, talking life," Williams said. "He was thinking of moving back to Sacramento and he just didn't get to that point. He wasn't able to make it back home."

From the officers charged with his death to the released video showing Nichols' encounter with police, people closest to him believe justice is merely the baseline.

"We need Tyre's Law to be a thing," said Angelina Paxton, a longtime friend.

She is one of the coordinators for the memorial scheduled to be held Monday evening to remember Nichols' life.

"We can sentence as many people as we want, but the problem will still continue if there's nothing to hold people accountable," Paxton said.

Monday night, hundreds of people - family, friends and strangers alike - gathered at Regency Skatepark sharing laughs and tears while sharing memories of the moments that will forever impact those Nichols touched.

"His death isn't his legacy. His legacy is his love," one friend shared through tears at the memorial's podium, a safe space for those to share their grief. 

"He just had this overwhelming urge to make everyone around him smile, he was always so goofy," Ryan Wilson said of his close friend. 

Family says Tyre's death will not be in vain - they want it to spark nationwide police reform. 

"It's hate. I don't care if it was all black officers. Evil comes in all sizes, shapes and colors," shared one family member at Monday night's memorial. 

"He really wanted to change the world. And he did change the world. His name will never be forgotten," added Tyre's nephew Kamari at the podium.   

On Sunday, the Memphis branch of the NAACP called on the Tennessee Legislature to pass the Tyre Nichols Criminal Justice Reform Bill. The push would make it a crime for an officer to fail to intervene as seen in the Nichols video.

"We like thoughts. We like prayers. We like well wishes, but we want action yet," said President Van Turner of the NAACP Memphis Branch.

Meanwhile, protestors and activists are also demanding congress revisit the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

For Williams, he wishes he could talk to his dearest friend one more time.

"I'd tell him I love him and we'd have to get a skate session soon," he said. 

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