Tyre Nichols’ Parents Set to Attend Biden’s State of the Union Address

The Congressional Black Caucus has also requested a meeting with the president to discuss police reform.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

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The parents of Tyre Nichols, the Black man who was fatally beaten by Memphis police officers, have accepted an invitation from the Congressional Black Caucus to attend President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on February 7.

The invitation came days after the Memphis Police Department released bodycam footage that, as warned, showed an abuse of power that was “heinous, reckless, and inhumane,” reigniting calls for police reform nationwide. Biden, who spoke with Nichols’ mother and stepfather, RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, on the phone, has called the footage “horrific.”

“It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day,” Biden said in a statement. On Sunday, an attorney for the Nichols family demanded Congress pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in the wake of Nichols’ death. As my colleague Noah Lanard wrote

The bill would ban chokeholds, no-knock warrants in federal drug cases, create a national registry of police misconduct, and force police departments to collect more data, NPR has reported. The bill would also push more money toward community-based policing. It would mostly impact federal law enforcement. 

Crump argued that there hasn’t been federal police form legislation since Lyndon Johnson was president. “It didn’t happen with Rodney King, it didn’t happen with Michael Brown in Ferguson and it didn’t happen with George Floyd,” he continued. “How many of these tragedies do we have to see on video before we say we have a problem, America?”

The CBC has also called for a meeting with Biden to discuss national reforms in police departments. In his last State of the Union address, the president came under fire from progressives after declaring the answer to public safety is to “fund the police”—an approach many social justice advocates have argued will only exacerbate violent police instances. NBC reports that Biden’s speech, while still a “work in progress,” is expected to cover gun safety measures, immigration, and threats to democracy.

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