JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – While the funeral for Tyre Nichols took place in Memphis on Wednesday, members of the community came together in Jacksonville for a prayer vigil led by the Jacksonville Police Department.
Dozens gathered on the front steps of the Jacksonville Public Safety building to pray for unity and peace.
“When they said that prayer, I was right next to another person and you could just feel you know, just feel the warmth out here because we are all out here together. And I know we all are here for the same thing,” said Jacksonville resident Mary Louise Pearson Moore.
The vigil comes after the tragic death of Nichols, who was beaten after a traffic stop by Memphis Police on January 7. He died from his injuries three days later.
“I just couldn’t believe it. It just hurt me. And when I saw him lying in the hospital, I said, ‘it didn’t call for that,’” said Moore.
Though the death happened over 800 miles away, Jacksonville’s Police Chief Michael Yaniero wanted to bring the community together during these difficult times.
“I think offering prayers for the family, offering prayers for our community, offering prayers for peace, is the is probably the most important thing we can do to make our community a better place,” said Yaniero.
Side by side, officers and citizens stood together in the wake of the tragedy, vowing to do what they can to prevent this from happening again.
“We all need to reflect on what happened. And we need to look at our processes and our policies to make sure. And we’ve been doing that for a number of years, we’ve looked at how we address the use of force. And our policy focuses on the sanctity of life,” said Yaniero.