PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — Dozens of people gathered outside of the Peoria Police Department on Sunday demanding change and justice following the deaths of Tyre Nichols of Memphis and Samuel Vincent Richmond of Peoria at the hands of police.
Nichols died last month after a beating by Memphis police, where six officers were fired and five are charged with second-degree murder.
Richmond was shot and killed by Peoria police on Oct. 3, 2022. Peoria police responded to a shot spotter alert and a 911 call from a man saying Richmond was threatening suicide.
During a press conference in December, when asked if officers followed protocol Peoria Police chief Eric Echevarria wouldn’t give a direct answer but said Richmond pointed a gun at his officers and said after ISP’s investigation Peoria police will conduct an administrative review to determine if procedures and protocols were followed.
“First, I’ll remind you of the clip that you saw there of Mr. Richmond pointing a gun at my officers,” Echevarria said. “When a situation like that occurs and it’s a rapidly developing situation when our officers go up safety is paramount.”
The four officers involved in that incident were placed on paid leave while state police took over the investigation.
During Sunday’s vigil, organizer Rin Fuller compared the deaths of Tyre Nichols and Samuel Vincent Richmond.
“The comparison I see was only the cops not doing their jobs. We were fighting for not only Tyre, but specifically, Peoria victims too,” said Fuller.
Demonstrators said they would like more transparency and police accountability.
They also called for ‘community control’ which they explained meant full access to investigations, the full authority on disciplinary measures, and control over the hiring and firing of all officers on the force.
Echevarria released a statement regarding Sunday’s protest.
“As the chief of police, we will always support the rights of our community members to peacefully exercise their first amendment rights,” said Chief Echevarria.