Watch the live stream of Tire Nichols’ funeral on Wednesday

Watch the full service video here

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) – The funeral of Tire Nichols, the 29-year-old motorist who died after a brutal traffic stop by police, was held in Memphis on Wednesday, with the Reverend Al Sharpton delivering the eulogy.

Nichols was interred at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd. in Memphis.

“Tyre was a beautiful person and for this to happen to him is just unimaginable,” his mother, RowVaughn Wells, said through tears. “I promise you that the only thing that keeps me going is the fact that I truly, truly believe that my son was sent here on a mission from God.”

Ben Crump, attorney for the Nichols family, issued a “call to action” during the service.

“Mothers around the world, when their babies are born, pray to God that that body and that child will be safe for the rest of its life,” Vice President Kamala Harris said. “This violent act was not in the pursuit of public safety, it was not in the interest of keeping the public safe because one has to wonder, if it is not in the interest to keep the public safe, so Tire Nichols would be with us here today.”

Harris gave an impassioned speech calling on Congress to approve the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a sweeping package of policing reforms that includes a national registry of misconduct officers, a ban on no-knock warrants and other measures. .

Harris said the beating of Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, by five black police officers was a violent act that went against the police’s stated mission to provide public safety.

“It was not in the interest of public safety, because you have to wonder, wasn’t it in the interest of public safety that Tire Nichols would be with us today? Wasn’t he also entitled to the right to be safe? So when we talk about public safety, let’s understand what it means in its truest form. Tire Nichols should have been safe,” she said.

Sharpton said the officers who beat Nichols might have acted differently had there been real accountability for their actions. He also said he thought if Nichols had been white, “you wouldn’t have beaten him like that.”

“We understand that there are concerns about public safety. We understand that there are crime needs,” said Sharpton.

“But you don’t fight crime by becoming criminals yourself. You don’t resist thugs on the street who become thugs yourself. You don’t fight gangs by becoming five armed men against one unarmed man. It’s not the police. It’s punks,” he said, to cheers from the crowd.

At a press conference after the funeral, Sharpton and Crump also spoke about the importance of passing the George Floyd Policing Act and getting justice for all families affected by police brutality.

The Nichols family have agreed to travel to Washington DC next week for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Nichols was pepper sprayed, beaten and kicked after running from a traffic stop to his parents’ home in southeast Memphis on the night of January 7. He died three days later, seriously injured in a hospital.

The latest on Tire Nichols:

According to his obituary:

“Tyre DeAndre Nichols was born on June 5, 1993, in Sacramento, California, to RowVaughn Wells and Steven Nichols (deceased). He was the youngest of four siblings. After high school, Tyr moved on until he decides to make Memphis his home, he was preparing to make Memphis his permanent home for him and his son, Milo.

Tire loved skateboarding, watching the sunset, photography and most importantly helping people. He had the most contagious smile.

Five former Memphis police officers, members of the Memphis Police Department’s recently disbanded SCORPION unit, have been fired and charged with second-degree murder. Two others were relieved of their duties, along with two sheriff’s deputies. Three fire department employees who responded were also fired.

On Tuesday evening, Nichols’ family joined community activists and religious leaders, including the Reverend Al Sharpton, at the church in Memphis, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous Mountaintop speech on the eve of his assassination, calling unity and change.

“We have a long fight ahead of us but we have to stay strong for this, so ‘Justice for Tyre’. Justice for Tyre,” Nichols’ father-in-law Rodney Wells said.


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