Longtime friend of Tire Nichols remembers him, time together

Sacramentan Angelina Paxton will remembers her long time friend Tire Nichols as more of a brother, family. She now calls for justice in his death.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — This has been a difficult time for friends and family, but a close friend of Tire Nichols says her focus is to get justice.

Sacramentan Angelina Paxton will remembers her long time friend Tire Nichols as more of a brother, family.

“I think a lot of people that loved Tire can say he was very much just someone who became part of your family,” she said.

The two met at a church youth group when they were 13 and they’ve been friends ever since.

She says they created a bond because they were both into skateboarding and nature.

“He used to always tell me that it’s okay to smile sometimes and that’s what he was known for. His light energy, his happiness, his joy, his just appreciation for the small things,” said Paxton.

That light and personality is now a memory she’ll look back on and remember.

Tyre, who grew up in Sacramento, died at the age of 29 three days after being beaten by 5 Memphis police officers following what they say was a traffic stop.

Paxton says she chose not to watch the video of the police encounter released Friday because it was too difficult. She seeks justice for her friend, calling for more to be done.

Angelina Paxton, friend of Tyre:

“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone and so I really feel like the only justice we can seek right now is not only do the officers need to be charged as the criminals are, but we really need to hone in and make sure this doesn ‘t happen, nobody else needs to bury their son and no one else needs to watch a video like that,” said Paxton.

The 5 officers involved were fired and face charges including second-degree murder and aggravated assault which Paxton says is a respectable start to justice.

“[The officers] were fired immediately,” said Paxton. “That is what needs to happen. You can’t put people on administrative leave every time they do something terrible.”

This is not the first time she’s lost a friend during an encounter with police — she also went to high school with Stephon Clark who was shot and killed by Sacramento police back in 2018.

She still holds out for change.

“Reform is possible. It’s just the lawmakers have to hold our cops accountable now,” said Paxton.

Candlelight vigils will be held in memory of Tire in Sacramento throughout the week. One is planned Monday night at Regency Skatepark and another next Saturday at skate ramp on Franklin Boulevard.

WATCH MORE: Tire Nichols full coverage, latest updates, new video

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