Sharpton asks for peaceful protests in Tyre Nichols’ death; crowd gathers Saturday night in NYC

NEW YORK — The Rev. Al Sharpton called Saturday for more protests over Tyre Nichols’ death — and urged that they be peaceful, saying that violent protests will only “help the police get away with what they did.”

“What (the police) want to do is see violence and say, ‘This is why the police have to do what they did. You see how out of control they are?’” Sharpton said at his House of Justice in Harlem.

“Don’t play into the narrative and see how that would help them defend what they did,” Sharpton urged protesters.

Instead, Sharpton encouraged protesters to abide by the wishes of Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells. “She called for peace. She showed a mercy that was not extended to her,” he said. “We are going to continue protesting, but we are going to do it non-violently.”

Sharpton spoke the morning after three people were arrested and two cops were assaulted in Times Square during marches Friday night. The protests were held as Memphis, Tennessee, officials released video showing how cops beat Nichols during a traffic stop on Jan. 7 and let him go crucial minutes without medical care.

Nichols, who is also Black, died three days after the beating that Memphis police Chief Cerelyn Davis said showed “acts that defy humanity.”

Police prepared for another round of protests in New York over the weekend. A protest that began at 5 p.m. Saturday in Washington Square Park initially drew more than 100 people.

“It was a brutal attack and I’m here to show support for the family and show the world and the country that there are people that still feel the things need to change,” said Ryan Clark, 38, a Brooklyn resident who said Saturday’s protest was the first he attended over the Nichols case.

“You always want to have hope things will change. As a country we’re still evolving, but we’re not there yet,” Clark said.

On Friday, three people were arrested in Midtown amid protests after one person, identified 33-year-old Argenis Rivera, jumped onto the hood of a parked New York Police Department cruiser and then kicked in its windshield, officials said.

All three arrests came during a on Seventh Avenue and 43rd Street in Midtown around 8:15 p.m. after Rivera jumped on the hood of a parked NYPD police cruiser and stomped in its windshield, officials said.

Rivera was standing on top of the cruiser for several minutes before he began taunting the cop behind the wheel and kicking at the windshield, causing it to spiderweb. He then bent down and began punching the windshield when cops grabbed his legs and pulled him off the car.

Cops charged Rivera with criminal mischief. Rivera has priors for assault and robbery and was recently arrested for choking someone in October, said law enforcement sources.

Rivera’s mother had no idea he was in police custody Saturday. “I come home. I was waiting, waiting. He wasn’t here,” she said. “He’s very quiet. He’s nonviolent.”

“He defends the police every time,” said the suspect’s 59-year-old mom, who did not give her name. “He never talks about police, no.”

As cops went in to arrest Rivera, protester Candy Nicole, 25, tried to shove them away, striking two cops in the face as she tried to stop the arrest, cops said.

Police arrested her for assault as a hate crime for making anti-cop statements as she socked one of the cops in the nose. Neither cop was seriously injured. The arrest was Nicole’s first in New York, said police.

A third protester, Katherine Stone, 34, was also grabbed for trying to graffiti the same cruiser.

Arraignments for Rivera and Nicole at Manhattan Criminal Court were pending Saturday. Stone was given a desk appearance ticket and is expected to answer the charges in court next month.

The three arrested were among the Union Square protesters who began marching north along Seventh Avenue, cops said. Another protest that started in Times Square shut down traffic along Broadway as its participants marched to Penn Station.

Both protests appeared to have broken up before 11 p.m.

Sharpton on Saturday called for a new vote on the federal George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which will end qualified immunity for cops being sued for using excessive force.

“When police feel they have no skin in the game, they act any kind of way they want,” he said, disgusted that Nichols was killed by five Black police officers.

“We fought to get Blacks in the department. We thought that if we got you in, you would stand up and treat us as you treat others, but you’re imitating the worst in policing and now you’re going to pay the price that others pay,” Sharpton said. “You may be my color but you’re not my kind.”