Tyre Nychols, beaten to death by five police officers after a traffic violation in Memphis: funeral today attended by George Floyd's family
Steph Deschamps / February 1, 2023
The funeral of African-American Tyre Nichols, whose fatal beating by black police officers shocked the United States, is being held Wednesday in the city of Memphis in the presence of Vice President Kamala Harris.
The ceremony promises to be political, with Tyre Nichols' family attorney, Ben Crump, expected to issue a "call to action" against police violence.
In a strong symbol, a brother of George Floyd, a 40-year-old black man whose death in 2020 under the knee of a white police officer sparked massive anti-racism protests, will attend the funeral. And the Reverend Al Sharpton, a civil rights figure, will deliver the eulogy at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church. The service is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. local time.
Tyre Nichols, 29, was arrested on January 7 by officers of a special unit in Memphis, in the southern United States, for a simple traffic violation, according to police. But he was beaten beyond recognition, according to his family, and died three days later in hospital.
Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone Tuesday with Tyre Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather Rodney Wells, who invited her to the funeral, according to their attorney.
In a phone call he described as "emotional," "the vice president was able to console Ms. Wells and even help her smile," said Ben Crump, who also represented the Floyd family.
The excruciating footage of Tyre Nichols' arrest and beating by officers was broadcast last week, uncut, by the nation's largest networks.
The five police officers involved were dismissed and charged with murder. The "Scorpion Unit" to which they belonged, whose mission was to reduce illegal activity in sensitive neighborhoods by deploying more police officers, was disbanded. Three firemen were dismissed in connection with the events and two other police officers were suspended.
During the arraignment, "no one showed any humanity to Tyre Nichols, and those responsible must be held accountable," said Ben Crump.
For his part, President Joe Biden plans to meet Thursday at the White House with members of the Congressional Caucus of African-American elected officials to "discuss police reform legislation and other shared priorities," said Olivia Dalton, an executive spokeswoman.
President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power ... to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the expectations of impartial justice ... and dignity for all," she added.