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VP Harris addresses mourners at Tyre Nichols’ funeral

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — Tyre Nichols’ family will gather in Memphis, Tennessee, on Wednesday for his funeral, weeks after the 29-year-old died following a violent encounter with Memphis police officers caught on body camera.


The graphic footage of Nichols’ traffic stop and beating was released to the public on Friday and sparked nationwide outrage. Nichols, a young father who loved skateboarding, died on Jan. 10.

“This video illustrates exactly what happened on those streets that night. This also justifies our son showing that he was no threat to them,” Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told ABC News Live. “We needed the public to see it so that they could make their own judgment.”

Five officers involved in the Jan. 7 traffic stop have been fired and arrested on charges including second-degree murder.

Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said, “I just feel like my son was sent here on an assignment. His assignment was fulfilled and God took him home.”

“That’s what keeps me going, because I’m not going to stop until I get justice by my side,” she said.

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Memphis for the funeral. Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, and George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, will also be in attendance.

The service begins at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Feb 01, 3:57 PM EST
Nichols’ mom addresses mourners through tears

The Rev. Al Sharpton said “nobody has shown more strength and dignity” than Tyre Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells.

Through tears, Wells said her son was a “beautiful person.”

She said the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act must be passed by Congress, otherwise “the next child that dies, that blood is gonna be on their hands.”

Tyre Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told the crowd, “We’re looking forward to passing some bills” and getting justice for “all the families.”

“This is a continuous fight,” he said.

Feb 01, 3:32 PM EST
Tyre Nichols’ ‘legacy will be one of equal justice’

Tyre Nichols’ family attorney, Ben Crump, “made a plea for justice” at the service.

“When we watch, we don’t see the Memphis Police Department SCORPION unit extend one ounce of humanity during that 1 hour and 7 minute video,” Crump said. “Why wouldn’t they see the humanity in Tyre?”

To Nichols’ family, Crump said, “His legacy will be one of equal justice. It will be the blueprint going forward, because we have to remember that in less than 20 days … they were terminated, they were arrested and they were charged.”

Feb 01, 3:14 PM EST
Sharpton: ‘We won’t stop until we hold you accountable’

The Rev. Al Sharpton told mourners that the body camera video “speaks for itself.”

“We understand that there are concerns about public safety. But you don’t fight crime by becoming criminals yourself,” Sharpton said.

He vowed, “We won’t stop until we hold you accountable and change this system.”

Sharpton said he wants to see the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed so “you have to think twice before you beat Tyre Nichols. You think twice before you shoot at someone unarmed.”

He added, “If that man had been white, you wouldn’t have beat him. … We’re asking to be treated equal.”

Sharpton, who was raised by a single mother, said he was “touched” when he heard Tyre Nichols calling for his mother on the video, “just like George Floyd was calling for his mother.”

“All he wanted to do was get home.”

Feb 01, 3:08 PM EST
Harris to family: ‘You have been extraordinary’

Vice President Kamala Harris said to Tyre Nichols’ mother and stepfather, “You have been extraordinary in terms of your strength, your courage and your grace.”

“Mothers around the world, when their babies are born, pray to God when they hold that child, that that body and that life will be safe,” Harris said. “Yet we have a mother and a father who mourn the life of a young man who should be here today. They have a grandson who now does not have a father.”

Nichols died in an “act of violence at the hands and the feet of the people who have been charged with keeping them safe,” she said. “This violent act was not in pursuit of public safety.”

She said passing The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is “non-negotiable.”

Feb 01, 2:49 PM EST
Families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Botham Jean attend service

Families of other Black Americans killed by police — George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Botham Jean — came to pay their respects at Wednesday’s funeral.

“They’ve come to be with you on this day from all over the country,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said.

Feb 01, 2:35 PM EST
VP Harris hugs Tyre Nichols’ mom

Vice President Kamala Harris had a long embrace with Tyre Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, when she arrived at the service.

Harris is sitting next to Wells in the front pew.

-ABC News’ Steph Wash

Feb 01, 2:28 PM EST
Fellow grieving mom offers condolences

Tiffany Rachal, whose son, Jalen Randle, was shot and killed by an officer in Houston last year, said at Tyre Nichols’ funeral service, “I’m here to offer my condolence to you.”

“I pray that God heal your broken heart,” she said to Nichols’ family. “We are fighting together. And all the mothers all over the world need to come together.”

Feb 01, 9:09 AM EST
Funeral delayed to 2 p.m. ET

Wednesday’s funeral has been delayed to 2 p.m. ET due to an ice storm in Memphis.

Feb 01, 6:11 AM EST
Memphis bridges to be lit up for Tyre Nichols

Two bridges in Memphis will be lit red and gold Wednesday night in honor of Tyre Nichols’ favorite football team, the San Francisco 49ers.

Feb 01, 5:23 AM EST
Vice President Harris to attend

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Memphis, Tennessee, to attend Tyre Nichols’ funeral.

Nichols family attorney Ben Crump said Nichols’ parents spoke with Harris on the phone for over 30 minutes.

Harris and Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, “spoke exclusively, and during this emotional time, the Vice President was able to console Ms. Wells and even help her smile,” Crump said in a statement on Tuesday.

Principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton said Tuesday, “When President Biden spoke with Mr. Nichols’ families last week, he told them that he was going to be making the case to Congress to pass the George Floyd justice and policing act.”

Dalton added the administration’s usual caveat that Biden has basically maxed out his executive authorities on the issue, and that Congress needs to act to effect further change.

“President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to ensure our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment and dignity for all,” she said.

“We need Congress to come together and take action to ensure our justice system lives up to its name,” she added.

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