What time is Tyre Nichols’ funeral and who is attending?

Black FedEx driver who died from his injuries after being savagely beaten by police officers to be laid to rest in Memphis, Tennessee, with US vice president and civil rights leaders in attendance

Joe Sommerlad
Wednesday 01 February 2023 14:53 GMT
Tyre Nichols' mother says her heart 'hurts' to hear son calling for her in bodycam footage

The funeral of Tyre Nichols – the 29-year-old Black man who was brutally beaten by police officers during a traffic stop in Memphis on 7 January and died three days later – will take place on Wednesday at 2pm ET.

US Vice President Kamala Harris, veteran civil rights campaigner the Reverend Al Sharpton, prominent attorney Ben Crump and the former mayors of Atlanta and New Orleans, Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mitch Landrieu, will join Nichols’ family in paying their respects to the deceased, a FedEx driver, skateboarder and amateur photographer with a four-year-old son, originally from Sacramento, California.

Mr Crump is expected to pledge a “call to action” following the horrific events that led to Nichols’ death, which began when the officers stopped Nichols and accused him of reckless driving before the situation escalated into violence.

Since Nichols’ killing, Memphis Police have released the disciplinary records of the five officers now charged with his murder, revealing that four of them had prior complaints against them.

Body-camera footage of the incident was also released on Friday evening, stoking fresh outrage about police brutality in the US two-and-a-half years on from the slaying of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the country and around the world at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Floyd family members, as well as those of Breonna Taylor, who was also killed by police in 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky, will also be in attendance on Wednesday.

US president Joe Biden has reached out to Nichols’ mother and stepfather, RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, to express his condolences and commented: “Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death.

“It has a lot to say and do with the image of America. It has a lot to do with whether or not we are the country that we say we are.”

Mr Biden has since invited them to attend his upcoming State of the Union address to Congress on 7 February and the couple are expected to be in attendance as he addresses the need for police reform, among other issues.

Hours before Wedneday’s funeral, Reverend Sharpton held a press conference with Nichols’ family at the Mason Temple Church of God In Christ headquarters in Memphis – where Dr Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech the night before he was killed – in which he described the officers responsible for Nichols’ deadly arrest as “gangbangers”.

“We will continue in Tyre’s name to head up to Martin’s mountaintop,” Reverend Sharpton said.

“People from around the world watched the videotape of a man – unarmed, unprovoked – being beat to death by officers of the law,” he continued.

“You thought that no one would respond. You thought no one would care. Well, tomorrow the vice president of the United States is coming to his funeral.”

Of the Nichols family, he said: “They will never ever recover from the loss. Every holiday, there’ll be a missing chair at their table.

“Every day this mother and father and brothers and sisters will have to remember he’s gone. But we will never leave them.”

Wednesday’s service, intended as a celebration of Tyre Nichols’ life, will begin at 10.30am local time (11.30am EST or 4.30pm GMT) at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

It will be covered live by all of the major US TV news networks and The Independent will bring you all the latest updates in our dedicated liveblog and via IndyTV.

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