Biden acknowledges Tire Nichols’ parents during State of the Union: ‘Something good has to come out of this’

Tire Nichols’ parents were President Biden’s guests at the The State of the Union this Tuesdayabout a week later Nichols funeral. The president opened up about his conversation with Nichols’ mother – and promised to make her wish for her son’s legacy come true. He also urged police departments to hold officers accountable.

Nichols, a black man killed by Memphis police during a traffic stop Jan. 7, was a 29-year-old father of a 4-year-old boy.

His mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather, Rodney Wells, stood up when Biden mentioned them during his speech.

“As many of you personally know, there are no words to describe the heartache of losing a child, but imagine, imagine if you lost that child to the hands of the law,” Biden said.

President Biden delivers a State of the Union address
Rodney Wells and RowVaughn Wells, parents of Tire Nichols, react as they are recognized alongside Monterey, California shooting hero Brandon Tsay and Irish singer-songwriter Bono during the speech on the State of the Union of President Joe Biden.

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“Here’s what Tyre’s mom told me when I asked her how she finds the courage to go on and speak out: She said her son is a beautiful soul, and something good will come of it,” Biden said. “Imagine how much courage that takes. It depends on us, on all of us.”

Biden spoke of the importance of community trust in law enforcement officers, who are often overworked and must play the role of “social workers, psychologists responding to drug overdoses, crisis mental health and more.

“But what happened to Tire in Memphis happens too often,” he said. “We need to do better. Give law enforcement the real training they need. Hold them to higher standards. Help them succeed in keeping us safe.”

Biden said the country needs more first responders and professionals to address growing mental health and addiction challenges, more resources to reduce violent crime and gun violence, community outreach programs and more investment in housing, education and job training – all of which β€œcan help prevent violence in the first place.”

He also called on police departments to hold officers accountable when they violate public trust.

Although there were several partisan moments during the State of the Union – with Republicans showing their displeasure with Biden’s speech – House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, notably defended Biden’s position. regarding the responsibility of the police when they breach the public trust.

“Let’s commit to making the words of Tyre’s mother true: something good must come out of it,” Biden said.

Last year, on the anniversary of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis, Biden signed an executive order banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants and other supporters of the “George Floyd Act”, which aimed to restrict certain fonts.

Nichols tire
Tire Nichols, seen in a photo provided by his family.

Courtesy of the Nichols family via AP

Footage of Nichols’ violent arrest that resulted in his death was released by the Memphis Police Department last month. Biden said he spoke with Nichols’ parents on the phone and in a statement, he said he was “outraged and deeply pained” and joined Nichols’ family in calling for a peaceful protest.

Five officers involved in Nichols’ death have been fired and face charges second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. Two other officers were statement of duties, three members from the Memphis Fire Department who responded to the scene were fired and two Shelby County Sheriff’s Department deputies were also relieved of their duties.

On Tuesday, officials said eight other Memphis Police Department officers will likely face charges in connection with Nichols’ death.


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