Vice President Kamala Harris honored Tyre Nichols as she spoke at his funeral at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis on Wednesday, February 1. Harris was brought on stage by Rev. Al Sharpton who delivered the eulogy for Nichols. The vice president once again called on congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, as she had in her first statement after the footage of Nichols being beaten by police was released.
.@VP Harris remarks at Tyre Nichols Funeral: "This violent act was not in pursuit of public safety…Was he not also entitled to the right to be safe? So when we talk about public safety, let us understand what it means in its truest form. Tyre Nichols should have been safe." pic.twitter.com/rZp0UrlVI1
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 1, 2023
At the start of her speech, Harris addressed Nichols’ parents and spoke about their strength through this heartbreaking time. “You have been extraordinary in terms of your strength, your courage, and your grace, and we mourn with you. The people of our country mourn with you,” she said. “We have a mother and a father who mourn the life of a young man who should be here today.”
She continued and said that the police did not act in the interest of public safety, as seen in the video footage that was released. “This is a family that lost their son and their brother through an act of violence at the hands and the feet of people who had been charged with keeping them safe,” she said. “When we talk about public safety, let us understand what it means in its truest form. Tyre Nichols should’ve been safe.”
Harris finished her speech by calling on Congress to pass the police reform bill, and concluded by quoting the biblical verse Luke 1:79. “God will help us to shine a light upon those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace,” she said. “Let our memory of Tyre shine a light on the path toward peace and justice.”
When Sharpton gave his speech, he called out the five Black former police officers for beating Nichols, while invoking the hard work that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did for civil rights. “In the city that Dr. King lost his life, not far away from that balcony, you beat a brother to death,” he said. “There’s nothing more insulting and offensive to those of us that fight to open doors that you walk through those doors and act like the folks we had to fight to get you through those doors.”
After the footage from Nichols’ confrontation with the police was released, Harris released a statement mourning his loss and called for police reform. “Tyre Nichols should have made it home to his family. Yet, once again, America mourns the life of a son and father brutally cut short at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. The footage and images released tonight will forever be seared in our memories, and they open wounds that will never fully heal,” she said in a statement. “The persistent issue of police misconduct and use of excessive force in America must end now.”
Harris continued, and she echoed calls for “accountability and transparency” and called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as well. “We must build trust—not fear—within our communities,” she said. “Congress must act with urgency and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. To truly honor Tyre Nichols’ memory, and the memory of so many others before him, we must demand that our justice system lives up to its name.”
After Nichols’ death, his mother RowVaughn Wells vowed to receive justice for her son during an interview on The View on Monday, January 30. “It just hurts me to my core, and that’s why I am going to fight until I have no more breath to make sure that we receive justice for my son,” she said.
Nichols’ death sparked protests and further calls for police reform, especially after the footage was released, showing officers beating him. Five of the police officers involved in the incident have been arrested and fired. They have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct, and one charge of official oppression. Since the footage was released, two more officers have been placed on administrative leave and were under investigation, per The New York Times.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.