A father ‘gone too soon’: Tyre Nichols funeral held in Memphison February 1, 2023 at 9:31 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Thousands are in Memphis to mourn the 29-year-old father who was fatally beaten by police.

Tyre Nichols's family arrives at the funeralImage source, Getty Images

Thousands of people have gathered at Memphis’ Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church to mourn the death of 29-year-old father Tyre Nichols.

Mr Nichols died three days after he was beaten by police following a traffic stop.

Five officers were charged last week in his murder.

Family and friends as well as national figures, including Vice President Kamala Harris, are in Tennessee to pay their respects to Mr Nichols.

Graphic bodycam footage of Mr Nichols’ encounter with police released last week showed him being brutally punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed and hit by police officers.

Mr Nichols was black, as are the police officers now charged with second-degree murder, assault, kidnapping, official misconduct and oppression.

The fatal assault has sparked nationwide peaceful protests against police violence.

Mr Nichols’ funeral began at 13:00 local time (19:00 GMT), after it was pushed back due to bad weather.

Those speaking at the ceremony described Mr Nichols as a kind and caring father, while a slideshow of images displayed his many passions, including skateboarding, the sunset and time with his mother and son.

Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner, a pastor at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, began the service by saying he hoped the ceremony could offer a moment to “cry with each other” and call for “comprehensive legislative reform”.

Mourners are gathered to remember a “son, father, brother, friend, human being gone too soon, denied his rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, Dr Turner said.

Kamala Harris also gave a brief speech, telling Mr Nichols’ family, the “people of our country mourn with you”.

“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,” she said. “Yet we have a mother and a father who mourn the life of a young man who should be here today.”

She called Mr Nichols’ death “an act of violence at the hands and the feet of people who have been charged with keeping them safe”, and called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“Let our memory of Tyre shine a light on the path toward peace and justice,” she added.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Reverend Al Sharpton

Image source, Getty Images

The families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, both of whom died as a result of police violence, also attended the funeral, where civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton gave a eulogy.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Nichols’ family remembered him as a polite, gentle young man who touched many lives.

His sister Keyana Dixon said through tears that her younger brother was “robbed of his life, his passions and his talents, but not his light”.

Mr Nichols’ other sister recited a poem titled I’m just trying to go home, a reference to what Mr Nichols’ told police officers in bodycam footage.

“I’ve skated across barriers designed to hold me back. I’m just trying to go home, where the love is loud and the smiles are warm, like the sunsets that come for me in the coldest of my storms,” she said.

Rev Sharpton noted Mr Nichols was murdered in the same city as Dr Martin Luther King Jr 55 years before. There’s “nothing more insulting and offensive” than police officers beating their “brother” to death, he said.

“If that man had been white you wouldn’t have beat him like that that night,” he said, pledging to never let Mr Nichols’ “memory die”.

Mr Nichols' family attorney Ben Crump

Image source, Getty Images

Ben Crump, the high-profile attorney representing Mr Nichols’ family, delivered what he described as a “call to action” at the funeral. “We have to make sure [police] see us as human beings that deserve justice,” he said. “And that’s what we’re going to get for Tyre Nichols: equal justice.”

He said Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis’ “swift response” in charging officers was a “blueprint” for justice going forward.

Police Chief Davis has said the treatment of Mr Nichols “defied humanity”.

Mr Nichols grew up in Sacramento, California before moving to Memphis in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic to be closer to his mother. He was a father to a four-year-old boy, and worked at FedEx with his own stepfather Rodney Wells.

The youngest of four children, Mr Nichols is described by family members as a loving son who enjoyed photography.

“Nobody’s perfect, but he was damn near,” his mother, Ms Wells, said.

Civil rights activists and the family’s lawyers have said police culture is responsible for his death and have called for reforms in the wake of the incident.

- Advertisement -




Constance Marten: Police offer £10,000 in missing couple and baby hunton January 31, 2023 at 9:37 am

Constance Marten, 35, is believed to be sleeping rough with her newborn and convicted sex offender partner.Constance Marten, 35, is believed to be sleeping...

World Cup 2022: Youssef En-Nesyri header gives Morocco the lead against Portugalon December 10, 2022 at 5:07 pm

Youssef En-Nesyri opens the scoring for Morocco against Portugal in their World Cup quarter-final.Youssef En-Nesyri opens the scoring for Morocco against Portugal in their...

The Mousetrap: Agatha Christie’s West End hit heads to Broadway after 70 yearson November 25, 2022 at 6:03 am

The Mousetrap is the West End's longest-running show, but has never been staged in New York.Image source, The MousetrapBy Rebecca Jones and Helen Bushby...

Tokyo Olympics: Cyclists Matt Walls and Ethan Hayter win silver in men’s madisonon August 7, 2021 at 10:26 am

British cyclist Matt Walls' superb Olympic debut continues as he wins a second Tokyo medal with silver in the men's madison alongside Ethan Hayter.

Police investigator quit over black athletes’ stop and search caseon January 18, 2023 at 12:02 pm

Trisha Napier says her investigation of the Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos case was "watered down".Image source, PA MediaBy Sima Kotecha and Hannah...