ATLANTA - It was a small gathering of protesters in Downtown Atlanta following the release of bodycam video showing Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols as they attempted to arrest him.
A peaceful group of protesters, counted in the dozens, gathered at Centennial Olympic Park. At times, there were more law enforcement officers than protesters. City and state leaders say they were not taking any chances after last weekend’s riot over the "Cop City" Atlanta Public Safety Training Center.
A strong police presence was seen around City Hall and the Georgia State Capitol. Barricades blocked the entrance.
About 100 Georgia National Guardsmen rolled into town early Friday evening as Gov. Brian Kemp exercises his authority under Thursday’s declared state of emergency. The governor’s office says the deployment was only a precaution in case protests turn into unrest. It was one not needed Friday night. None of the troops were seen in the downtown area.
About 100 Georgia National Guardsmen stage in Atlanta in case protests turn into unrest following the release of body camera video of the alleged police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis on Jan. 27, 2023. (Billy Heath / FOX 5)
State and city officials have condemned the actions seen on a series of videos released by the Memphis Police Department on Friday evening. They vow that peaceful protests will be allowed and protected.
Protesters vowed to return Saturday night, and in greater numbers, as they say more people will have seen the videos of Tyre Nichols’ traffic stop. Some protesters also say they believe the large amount of law enforcement was meant to scare people off from coming together to voice their outrage.
Officials are hopeful protests will continue to be peaceful demonstrations.