VP Harris addresses mourners at Tyre Nichols' funeral
Tyre Nichols died three days after the violent encounter with Memphis police.
Tyre Nichols' family gathered in Memphis, Tennessee, for his funeral, weeks after the 29-year-old died following a violent encounter with Memphis police caught on body camera.
Graphic footage of the Jan. 7 traffic stop, which showed officers beating Nichols, was released to the public on Friday and sparked nationwide outrage. Nichols, a young father who loved skateboarding, died on Jan. 10, after spending three days in a hospital.
Five officers involved in the incident have since been fired and charged with several felonies, including second-degree murder.
Nichols' mom addresses mourners through tears
The Rev. Al Sharpton said “nobody has shown more strength and dignity” than Tyre Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells.
Through tears, Wells said her son was a “beautiful person.”
She said the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act must be passed by Congress, otherwise “the next child that dies, that blood is gonna be on their hands.”
Tyre Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told the crowd, “We’re looking forward to passing some bills” and getting justice for “all the families.”
“This is a continuous fight,” he said.
Nichols' older sister, Keyana Dixon, noted that even as her brother was pulled out of his car, he remained polite.
"He was always saying, 'Please stop,' and they didn't. And that's why my family will never be the same," Dixon said.
Tyre Nichols' 'legacy will be one of equal justice'
Tyre Nichols' family attorney, Ben Crump, “made a plea for justice” at the service.
“When we watch, we don’t see the Memphis Police Department SCORPION unit extend one ounce of humanity during that 1 hour and 7 minute video,” Crump said. “Why wouldn’t they see the humanity in Tyre?”
To Nichols' family, Crump said, "His legacy will be one of equal justice. It will be the blueprint going forward, because we have to remember that in less than 20 days ... they were terminated, they were arrested and they were charged."
Sharpton: ‘We won’t stop until we hold you accountable'
The Rev. Al Sharpton told mourners that the body camera video “speaks for itself.”
“We understand that there are concerns about public safety. But you don’t fight crime by becoming criminals yourself,” Sharpton said.
He vowed, “We won’t stop until we hold you accountable and change this system.”
Sharpton said he wants to see the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed so “you have to think twice before you beat Tyre Nichols. You think twice before you shoot at someone unarmed.”
He added, "If that man had been white, you wouldn't have beat him. ... We're asking to be treated equal."
Sharpton, who was raised by a single mother, said he was "touched" when he heard Tyre Nichols calling for his mother on the video, "just like George Floyd was calling for his mother."
"All he wanted to do was get home."
Harris to family: 'You have been extraordinary'
Vice President Kamala Harris said to Tyre Nichols’ mother and stepfather, “You have been extraordinary in terms of your strength, your courage and your grace.”
“Mothers around the world, when their babies are born, pray to God when they hold that child, that that body and that life will be safe,” Harris said. “Yet we have a mother and a father who mourn the life of a young man who should be here today. They have a grandson who now does not have a father.”
Nichols died in an "act of violence at the hands and the feet of the people who have been charged with keeping them safe," she said. "This violent act was not in pursuit of public safety."
She said passing The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is "non-negotiable."