Mourners issue call for police reform at funeral of Tyre Nichols

The city of Memphis laid Tyre Nichols to rest Wednesday three weeks after he died from a brutal beating by police. Mourners celebrated Nichols' life and issued a call for justice. Vice President Kamala Harris criticized the officers and said it was time for Congress to pass a federal law to reform policing. Amna Nawaz reports.

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  • Geoff Bennett:

    Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour."

    The city of Memphis laid Tyre Nichols to rest today.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    At his funeral, mourners celebrated Nichols' life and joined civil rights leaders from around the country in issuing a call for justice.

  • Nick Schifrin:

    Across the arid landscape of Southern Somalia…

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Laying her son to rest, RowVaughn Wells said, Tyre Nichols' life was one purpose.

    RowVaughn Wells, Mother of Tyre Nichols: I promise you, the only thing that's keeping me going is the fact that I really, truly believe my son was sent here on an assignment from God.


  • RowVaughn Wells:

    And I guess now his assignment is done.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    A loving son, father, brother, FedEx employee, skateboarder and friend to all, Nichols was the youngest of four siblings.

    His sister, Keyana Dixon:

    Keyana Dixon, Sister of Tyre Nichols: I see the world showing him love and fighting for his justice. But all I want is my baby brother back.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    His funeral comes three weeks after his death after a brutal beating by Memphis police during a traffic stop. Tyre Nichols' death drew national attention and led Vice President Kamala Harris to Memphis today.

    Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States: And we mourn with you, and the people of our country mourn with you.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Harris criticized the officers who beat Nichols and said it was time for Congress to pass a federal law to reform policing, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

  • Kamala Harris:

    It was not in the interest of keeping the public safe, because one must ask, was not it in the interest of keeping the public safe that Tyre Nichols would be with us here today?


  • Amna Nawaz:

    The Reverend Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, delivered Tyre's eulogy.

  • Rev. Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Activist:

    I believe, if that man had been white, you wouldn't have beat him like that night.


  • Rev. Al Sharpton:

    We are not asking for nothing special. We're asking to be treated equal.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Among those in attendance, the families of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, reminders that Nichols' family now joins a larger community of Black families fighting for justice for loved ones killed by police.

    That includes Tiffany Rachal. Her son Jalen was shot and killed by a Houston police officer last April.

    Tiffany Rachal, Mother of Jalen Randle: We are fighting together, and all the mothers all over the world need to come together, need to come together and stop all of this.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Nichols' death and the release of the brutal body camera footage documenting it have reignited calls for reform and accountability. Five members officers were fired and charged with murder. The department's specialized SCORPION unit has also been disbanded.

    Back at the funeral, his mother delivered a call to action and echoed the calls for legislative reform.

  • RowVaughn Wells:

    We need to get that bill passed, because, if we don't, the blood — the next child that dies, that blood is going to be on their hands.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Once again, the national conversation on how to prevent police killings begins as another life ends. Tyre Nichols was 29 years old.

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