Tire Nichols’ emotional parents stand to applaud Biden as he insists police ‘hold accountable’

During his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Joe Biden recognized the family of Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old black man who died three days after he was beaten by police officers in Memphis last month.

“There are no words to describe the anguish and pain of losing a child,” Biden said.

Biden has made passing police reform one of his key promises, but activists and observers say he has been a “consistently inconsistent” ally on civil rights, as the independent has reported.

He failed to secure an earlier goal of passing the George Floyd Police Justice Act by May 2021, calling on lawmakers once again during his speech Tuesday to pass federal police reform.

“Imagine having to worry if your son or daughter will come home after walking down the street or playing in the park or just driving your car,” Biden said. “And when police officers or police departments violate the public’s trust, we must hold them accountable.”

Nichols’s parents rose to their feet to applaud the president during the emotional moment of the speech.

They were among more than a dozen relatives of victims of police violence in attendance, guests of First Lady Jill Biden and the Congressional Black Caucus when Nichols’ murder reignited a national conversation about surveillance in a way that had not been seen before. since George’s murder in 2020. Floyd.

Caucus members also wore black pins reading “1870” in white text, commemorating the year of the first known police killing of a freed African-American man, Henry Truman, in an effort to shed light on the killings of African-Americans by police officers. police.

Body camera footage released by Memphis officials shows a large group of Memphis Police Department officers violently pulling Nichols out of his car and repeatedly punching, kicking and tasering him, until he collapses motionless against A car.

Recordings also captured the officers bragging about their exploits to each other, trading stories about how hard Nichols was beaten. He died in the hospital three days later.

Six officers, Preston Hemphill, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith, have been fired from the Memphis Police Department. The last five are also charged with second degree murder.

Three fire department employees were also fired.

Footage showed a large crowd of first responders standing and talking for minutes as Nichols lay slumped against a car without receiving medical treatment.

He died three days after being arrested and a private autopsy showed that he had suffered “extensive bleeding”.

The Biden administration has been out to offer condolences to the Nichols family, with the president calling RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, the young man’s mother and stepfather, and the vice president speaking at Nichols’ funeral.

“This violent act was not in pursuit of public safety. It was not in the interest of keeping the public safe,” he said at the ceremony in Memphis. “Didn’t he also have the right to be sure?”

He urged Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, bipartisan police reform legislation that passed the House of Representatives in 2021 but stalled in a deadlocked Senate with Republican opposition. The bill, named after the black man who was killed by Minneapolis police officers in 2020, was co-authored by then-Sen. Harris.

“May the memory of Tire light the way to peace and justice,” Ms. Harris said in her brief remarks.

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