US Vice President Kamala Harris to attend Tyre Nichols’ funeral

HOUSTON, United States (AA): US Vice President Kamala Harris will attend Tyre Nichols’ funeral in Memphis, Tennessee, her office said Tuesday. 

Family attorney Ben Crump said Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather, Rodney Wells, spoke by telephone with Harris for more than 30 minutes and invited the vice president to the service Wednesday.

“Vice President Harris and Ms. 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. “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.”

Crump said he will make a “call to action” regarding Nichols’ savage beating death at the hands of five Memphis Police Department (MPD) officers who were subsequently fired and charged with murder.

Nichols was kicked, punched, pepper-sprayed and beaten with a police baton during a Jan. 7 traffic stop. Nichols died from his injuries Jan. 10.

The MPD released video footage of the deadly beating which has prompted protests and outrage across the US.

Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith were all charged with second-degree murder.

Two other officers, Preston Hemphill and another unnamed MPD officer, were “relieved of duty” for their involvement with the incident. Three Memphis Fire Department workers were also fired for their response to Nichols’ beating.

US Sen. Cory Booker from the state of New Jersey is expected to introduce police reform legislation in the coming weeks, which could incorporate aspects of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, according to CBS News.

The proposal limits qualified immunity, the controversial legal doctrine that shields law enforcement and government officials from being sued for conduct on the job. The proposed legislation also prevents racial profiling and restricts the use of excessive force by police.

Harris has asked Congress to “urgently” pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“To truly honor Tyre Nichols’ memory, and the memory of so many others before him, we must demand that our justice system lives up to its name,” she said.