The News You Missed From The Weekend

Tyre Nichols's life and "peaceful" neighborhood, four California mass shootings last week, and the Utah ban on gender-affirming care.

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Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by police in a “peaceful” neighborhood where “everybody looks out for each other,” residents say

Memphis police officers kicked, punched, and struck Tyre Nichols with a baton as the 29-year-old Black man screamed for his mother, video footage released showed. Nichols was driving back from watching the sunset and taking pictures of the sky at a local park when he was pulled over by police.

The footage of the ultimately deadly Jan. 7 encounter sparked widespread outrage across the US as Americans watched yet another Black man brutalized by police. Last week, the city of Memphis fired the five officers involved, and all of them face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression. Warning: This story describes graphic footage of police violence.

The Scorpion unit that killed Tyre Nichols was formed to target high-crime areas. But locals say his neighborhood was "peaceful." On Saturday, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis announced that she was disbanding Scorpion. Hickory Hill residents told BuzzFeed News they are now left to wonder how a unit supposedly created to make the city safer ended up instilling a newfound fear into a tight-knit grieving community.

“It makes you look at the neighborhood differently now,” said Jimareon Phillips, a 17-year-old student who’s lived in the area for 11 years. “I feel safe over here, but now it makes you cautious to even walk around because you’re scared the police can do that to you."

Family and friends remember Tyre Nichols as a "free spirit" who "was just his own person." “My son is looking down smiling because he knows — it's funny he always said he was going to be famous one day. I didn't know this is what he meant but,” Nichols’s mother RowVaughn Wells said in a news conference, before taking a shaky breath and pausing. “I really don't know what else to say right now.”

Four mass shootings in California in one week

  • A shooting early Saturday morning in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles left three people dead and four injured. Los Angeles police described the incident as "a gun battle ... not an active shooter situation.”
  • One week ago, a mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park killed 11 people, all of them between the ages of 57 and 76, after a Lunar New Year celebration. Even before the names of the Monterey Park victims were released, another shooter opened fire in Half Moon Bay on Monday, killing seven immigrant laborers who worked on a mushroom farm. And then on Thursday in Oakland, a shooter injured seven and killed an 18-year-old man.


A mystery at the Alex Murdaugh trial: Why didn't he have blood on him? At his murder trial on Friday, prosecutors speculated whether Alex Murdaugh had switched outfits after he allegedly fatally shot his wife and son.

In a chilling interview with a California radio station, Paul Pelosi's attacker said he was sorry he didn't injure more people. The suspect called KTVU shortly after bodycam footage was released showing the moment he fractured 82-year-old Pelosi's skull with a hammer.

The Oscars are reviewing their campaign rules after Andrea Riseborough's nomination. The reported campaign around Riseborough's Best Actress nomination — which was reportedly driven by the wife of the film’s director — is making headlines.

Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, the GMA3 co-anchors who had an affair with each other, are out at ABC. “We recognize their talent and commitment over the years and are thankful for their contributions," an ABC spokesperson said in a statement.

A ban on gender-affirming care for anyone under 18 has gone into effect in Utah

people with posters protest anti-grans legislation at a rally in utah

Utah's SB 16, which went into effect Saturday, prohibits a healthcare provider from performing surgical procedures on anyone under the age of 18 seeking to transition. It also bans hormone treatment for any minor who wasn’t already diagnosed with gender dysphoria and receiving care.

The American Medical Association has repeatedly opposed restrictions by politicians on gender-affirming care. “Gender-affirming care is medically-necessary, evidence-based care that improves the physical and mental health of transgender and gender-diverse people,” AMA board member Michael Suk said in a 2021 statement

Utah’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors is the first to become law in 2023. Other states are likely to follow; the Associated Press reported at least 18 other states are considering bills on healthcare for trans youth.


small children dressed head to toe in camo holding machine guns stand outside in the snow

Why Sam Smith’s reinvention matters

sam smith onstage in a silver jumpsuit with a mic

Sam Smith staged one of pop music’s most groundbreaking queer reinventions, Alessa Dominguez writes. They’ve metamorphosed out of their earlier cultural wallpaper era, when they sadly begged a lover to stay with them (in 2014’s “Stay With Me”) and declared themself “too good at goodbyes” (in 2017’s song of that title).

Then last year, “Unholy,” the breakout single on Smith’s new album Gloria, shot to No. 1 in the US and the UK. Smith broke ground as the first openly trans artist to reach the top of the charts. The song is a preposterous slice of sexy-gothic camp, and reads like a plea from a nosy kid judging their immoral parents: "Mummy don't know daddy’s getting hot / At the body shop / Doin’ something unholy.”

The rest of Gloria doesn’t quite live up to that song’s zany originality. The album showcases Smith’s musical range; they tackle everything from ’90s Europop to neo-soul and attempt to expand their songwriting to include themes of sex, self-empowerment, and even a tinge of politics. But the songs are uneven, sometimes marred by clichéd metaphors or sentiments. Still, among the missteps lies some of Smith’s strongest writing ever.

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