US Vice President Kamala Harris will attend the funeral of Tyre Nichols in Memphis on Wednesday, her office announced Tuesday. The 29-year-old’s arrest and subsequent death on Jan. 10 sparked widespread grief and outrage across the nation.
Nichols was beaten by police at a traffic stop which led to his death. Five officers were fired and charged with second-degree murder in connection to his death. Two other officers were relieved of duty, authorities said, and three members of the Memphis Fire Department who responded to the scene were fired.
The black man will be laid to rest Wednesday in Memphis and his funeral will be attended by several politicians and civil right leaders.
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Other than Harris, members of Nichols’ family, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton and civil rights attorney Ben Crump will speak at the funeral.
“Tyre’s parents invited Vice President Harris to the funeral tomorrow, and were pleased that she accepted their invitation,” Crump said in a statement. “Mr. and Mrs. Wells are grateful for Vice President Harris reaching out to them during this heartbreaking time and for her sensitivity on the call.”
Nichols, who worked for FedEx and had a 4-year-old son, grew up in Sacramento but moved to Memphis right before the pandemic.
“My son loved me to death, and I love him to death,” his mother, RowVaughn Wells, told CBS News.
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Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy, and civil rights attorney Ben Crump will deliver the “call for justice,” according to the funeral program obtained by CBS News.
“The sad reality is police brutality will be an ever-present threat for Black and Brown Americans unless cops continually see that those who use blunt force will go to jail. They need to understand that a badge isn’t a shield that lets them kill someone during a traffic stop,” Sharpton said in a statement following the release of the police footage. “And the only way to do that is through convictions and legislation. I thank the Justice Department for opening a civil rights investigation and urge its lawyers to be swift and transparent. Our entire nation must come together to condemn this grotesque violation of human rights.”