(NewsNation) — Rev. Vahisha Hasan wants wholesale reform after the death of Tyre Nichols.
Hasan, executive director of Movement in Faith, who works with different religions on specific social justice issues, called for systemic change. This includes entire communities holding the police more accountable.
“They didn’t have an indication that they were going to kill this man, but they knew in their blue uniforms that they didn’t have to be accountable for what was on this footage,” Hasan told host Chris Cuomo on Friday night on “CUOMO.” “You think this is the first time they have cussed out people, this is the first time that they have treated people in this way?”
Authorities on Friday released body camera footage of Nichols’ arrest, which showed five Memphis police officers beating the 29-year-old Black FedEx driver as he called out for his mother during an arrest earlier this month.
The officers, all of whom are Black, were charged Thursday with murder and other crimes in the killing of Nichols, a motorist who died three days after the Jan. 7 altercation with the officers that occurred during a traffic stop.
Hasan led a vigil on Thursday night in Memphis that Cuomo said helped keep the city “peaceful then and now.” On Friday night, she told Cuomo she had not watched the footage but was informed of the details.
“Tyre knew that he was in danger. … In a flight-and-fight response, he was trying to save his life, trying to retain his breath. I would’ve done the exact same thing,” Hasan said.
Hasan noted that this is happening in Memphis and said it’s not new.
“What we are witnessing, not just in Tyre’s murder, but murders across this country for a police department that is doing exactly what it was designed to do. There is a complete degradation of human worth, human value and human dignity. They did not see Tyre as a man, they saw him as a problem. As an inconvenience. It’s despicable,” Hasan said.