Just weeks after the brutal death of their son, Tyre Nichols’ family will be attending President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week.
HuffPost reports that the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, said Sunday that Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather, Rodney Wells, had accepted the invitation.
RELATED STORY: How many more Black Americans have to die before the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passes?
Friday, videos of Nichols being beaten by police were released to the public. The 29-year-old was repeatedly shocked, pepper-sprayed, punched, and kicked by police. Three days following the beating, he died.
The five Memphis police officers who beat and killed Nichols were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and kidnapping, The Washington Post reported.
In the wake of Nichols’ deadly beating, Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney representing Nichols’ family, says it’s time for Congress to act.
“Shame on us if we don’t use his tragic death to finally get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed,” Crump said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.
Crump says he hopes that Nichols’ death will be the final straw in significant changes in American policing.
Citing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Crump said, “I can’t stop a man from hating me, but the law can stop a man from killing a man.”
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Richard J. Durbin, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said of the measure, “It had many elements in it that are important … It’s necessary that we do all these things, but not sufficient. It’s the right starting point. We need a national conversation about policing in a responsible, constitutional, and humane way.”
The State of the Union address is Biden’s opportunity to lay out his agenda to the House for the next legislative session. Many are hoping that the presence of the Nichols family will urge the president to pressure legislators to push policing reforms.
Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, Oversight Committee chair, appeared at The National Press Club event Sunday. When asked about Tyre Nichol’s death, Comer simply said, “I haven’t even thought about it, to be honest with you.” Clearly, defunding and reforming policing is going to be an uphill climb for Biden and all the Democrats pushing for change.
During his appearance on MSNBC Sunday, Horsford said:
Earlier today, I spoke to the family of Tyre Nichols on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus to first extend our condolences to them, to let them know that we stand with them, to ask them what they want from us in this moment, to honor the legacy of their son, and to extend an invitation to them to be our guest at the State of the Union on February 7 so that we can make sure that this issue of police culture, culture of policing, which, unfortunately in this country has now contributed to countless deaths.