WASHINGTON – The parents of Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old black man who died after being beaten by police officers in Memphis, will attend President Biden’s State of the Union address next week, the Black Caucus chairman said Monday congressional.
Rep. Steven Horsford, the Nevada Democrat leading the caucus, said the parents had accepted his invitation to watch Biden deliver the national address to Congress next Tuesday outlining his priorities for the coming year.
“It’s important for them to be here in the gallery that night to hear from the president,” said Mr. Horsford, who did not mention the parents by name. “I also called a meeting with the president and White House officials to talk about how we are asking for this topic to be part of the State of the Union address.”
Biden, who called the case a test of “whether or not we are the country we say we are,” spoke with Nichols’ mother and stepfather, RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, last week and renewed his call to Congress. to pass a police reform bill that stalled in the Senate during his first year in office.
On Friday, videos of police officers kicking Mr. Nichols in the head, beating him with a baton and pepper spraying him after a traffic stop on January 7 were released to the public. Videos show Mr. Nichols being beaten up despite him showing no sign of fighting back. He died three days after the encounter.
Five police officers were fired by Memphis police this month and then charged last week with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Mr. Nichols. Two more officers have been placed on administrative leave.
On Monday, city officials said they had also fired three members of the Fire Department: two emergency medical technicians and a lieutenant. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has relieved two deputies of duty pending an investigation into their involvement in the encounter.
The death sparked protests in Memphis that spread across the country calling for those involved to be held accountable.
Horsford said bad actors could not be allowed to continue roaming the streets with a badge.
“I don’t care what party you are from or what region of the country you are in. I don’t care what your ideological leaning is,” Horsford said. “All of us should agree that we must root out bad policing wherever it exists.”