Thursday 2 February 2023 - 22:15

Tyre Nichols Funeral Draws Hundreds Including Kamala Harris and George Floyd’s Brother

Story Code : 1039257
Tyre Nichols Funeral Draws Hundreds Including Kamala Harris and George Floyd’s Brother
Nichols died in hospital three days after the attack, in a condition his mother described as being “beaten to a pulp.”

Five police officers were fired and charged with murder and their specialized unit has been disbanded, while two more officers have been suspended.

Today however, friends, family and those who have also lost loved ones at the hands of police brutality gathered to remember 29-year-old Nichols, who his stepfather said "wouldn't lay a finger on anyone".

His loved ones will remember and celebrate his love for skateboarding, photography and his family.

Vice President Kamala Harris is also among the congregation at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church today.

Family members of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, victims of high-profile police killings in 2020 in Louisville and Minneapolis will also attend.

Kamala Harris spoke at the service after the Rev. Al Sharpton invited her to the pulpit. She condemned police violence that led to Nichols' death.

She said: "This violent act was not in pursuit of public safety. Was he not also entitled to the right to be safe?”

"Tyre Nichols should've been safe."

Harris also demanded Congress pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, adding: "We should not delay and we will not be denied, it is nonnegotiable."

Tyre's funeral comes the day after loved ones and activists gathered at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis – the historic landmark is where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his final speech the night before he was assassinated nearly 55 years ago.

The service opened with a montage of images of Tyre as child, through to adulthood – as well as some images he had taken through his passion for amateur photography.

The Rev. Al Sharpton thanked the families of other Black people killed at the hands of police, including George Floyd’s family, for joining the service for Tyre Nichols.

The Reverend also criticized the police officers who beat Tyre Nichols as he recalled the death of Martin Luther King in Memphis 55 years ago when he was campaigning for the rights of black workers.

Those expected to be in attendance include Vice President Kamala Harris; Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor; and Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd.

The deaths of Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police sparked protests across the nation about racial injustice.

The beating of Nichols happened after police stopped him for an alleged traffic violation Jan. 7.

Video released after pressure from Nichols' family shows officers holding him down and repeatedly punching him, kicking him and striking with him batons as he screamed for his mother.

Nichols' death was the latest in a string of early accounts by police about their use of force that were later shown to have minimized or omitted mention of violent encounters.