‘He should have been safe:’ Kamala Harris offers brief, emotional comments at Tyre Nichols’ funeral
Nichols’ family wants justice for the 29-year-old who was beaten brutally by police and died in the hospital three days later
Tyre Nichols was remembered by friends and family at a funeral service Wednesday. The Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a eulogy to honor Tyre Nichols, and Vice President Kamala Harris offered a brief, emotional speech.
Nichols was beaten brutally by a group of police officers during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan. 7. He died three days later from the injuries.
“So when we talk about public safety, let us understand what it means in its truest form: Tyre Nichols should have been safe,” Harris said.
The funeral was held at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, where Nichols’ sister, Keyana Dixon, said, “I see the world showing him love and fighting for his justice, but all I want is my baby brother back,” per the Wall Street Journal.
Some noteworthy attendees at the service include Vice President Kamala Harris, Breonna Taylor’s mother and George Floyd’s brother.
Taylor was killed by police in Kentucky in 2020, and Floyd was killed by police in Minnesota in 2020, so Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, and Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, attended the funeral to support Nichols’ family.
RowVaughn Wells called for action and pressed lawmakers to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act because “there should be no other child that’s suffered” due to police violence or brutality, BBC reported.
Who was Tyre Nichols?
Nichols had a 4-year-old son and was passionate about skateboarding, capturing sunsets on video and photographs when he had time off from his job at FedEx, saying on his photography website that doing so made him look “at the world in a more creative way.”
On Jan. 7, Nichols was pulled over for allegedly “driving recklessly.” Tensions began to escalate, and Nichols attempted to flee, which is when the officers chased and caught him, beating him brutally. Video of the arrest and beating was released to the public on Friday and has been described as “horrific.”
“My brother was the most peaceful person you ever met. He’s never lifted a finger to nobody. Never raised his voice to nobody,” said Nichols’ brother, Jamal Dupree, per CNN. “If my brother was here today and he had to say something, he would tell us to do this peacefully.”
What did the Rev. Al Sharpton say about Tyre Nichols?
The Rev. Sharpton delivered a press conference on Tuesday about Nichols and his death.
“People from around the world watched the videotape of a man — unarmed, unprovoked — being beat to death by officers of the law,” the Rev. Sharpton said, per CNN.
During the service, Sharpton pointed out that Memphis was the city where Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.
“In the city that Dr King lost his life, not far away from that balcony, you beat a brother to death,” Sharpton said, per The Guardian. “... All (Nichols) wanted to do was get home.”
Family members want justice for Nichols’ death, and want him to be remembered as an artist and a skateboarder who loved photography.
“We get so zeroed in on how he died, we don’t get a chance to recognize that he lived before that moment,” the Rev. J. Lawrence Turner, pastor at the church where his funeral will be held, told The New York Times.
On Friday, a video of Nichols skateboarding went viral on Twitter, with many sharing the video as a reminder of him “living his best life.”
THIS is the only video of Tyre Nichols — a man who loved his kid, loved photographing sunsets, and loved skateboarding with all his heart — you should be watching today or ANY other day. pic.twitter.com/kGGqs87FFh— stef rubino (@ancillarytext) January 28, 2023
“My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what I am seeing through my eye and out through my lens,” Nichols once said, per The Washington Post.
This story was updated with more details following Tyre Nichols’ funeral service.