The parents of Tyre Nichols, the Black man who died after he was beaten by police in Tennessee, have accepted an invitation to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week.
Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Sunday he had spoken with the Nichols family and extended the invitation as the president speaks before Congress on Feb. 7.
“Earlier today I spoke to the family of Tyre Nichols on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus to first extend our condolences, to let them know that we stand with them,” Horsford told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton. “Everyone should agree, people should be safe. Safe in our communities. And law enforcement has an obligation to do its job.”
Nichols died earlier this month after he was pulled over during a traffic stop in Memphis. Body cam footage of his arrest shows officers violently beating and pepper-spraying him as they shouted obscenities. Nichols told officers he was experiencing shortness of breath, and he was later hospitalized with serious injuries. He died three days later.
Five Memphis police officers were fired after the footage was released and charged with murder and other crimes. But the incident sparked protests nationwide and renewed calls for action to address the ongoing spate of police brutality and racism in law enforcement.
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The Congressional Black Caucus this weekend called for a meeting with Biden ahead of the State of the Union to push the president to address such violence in his address. Biden said he was “deeply pained to see the horrific video” of Nichols’ beating, vowing to work to address the undue violence faced by communities of color. He called on Congress to send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to his desk for signature, although Republicans have previously blocked the bill.
Horsford said he would work with his colleagues to reignite negotiations to do so.
“Tyre Nichols was a son, he was a father, he was a young man, a Black man, with purpose, with a life full of living ahead of him,” Horsford said Sunday. “He should be alive today, and the Congressional Black Caucus is resolved to make sure that we take action.”
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