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Tire Nichols’ parents accept an invitation to the State of the Union

The parents of Tire Nichols, the black man who died after being beaten by police in Tennessee, have accepted an invitation to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week.

Representative. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Sunday that he had spoken with the Nichols family and extended the invitation while the president addresses Congress on February 7.

“Today we spoke to the family of Tire Nichols on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus to first express our condolences, to let them know that we are on their side,” Horsford told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton. “Everyone should agree, people should be safe. Safe in our communities. And the police have an obligation to do their job.

Nichols died earlier this month after being pulled over during a traffic stop in Memphis. Body camera footage of his arrest shows officers violently beating and pepper-spraying him while yelling obscenities. Nichols told officers he was having trouble breathing and was later hospitalized with serious injuries. He died three days later.

Five Memphis police officers were fired after the footage was released and charged with murder and other crimes. But the incident sparked nationwide protests and renewed calls for action to address the ongoing spate of police brutality and racism in law enforcement.

This weekend, the Congressional Black Caucus called for a meeting with Biden before the State of the Union to push the president to address such violence in his speech. Biden said he was “deeply saddened to see the horrific video” of Nichols’ beating, vowing to work to address unjustified violence against communities of color. He asked Congress to send the George Floyd Police Justice Act to his desk for signature, even though Republicans had previously blocked the bill.

Horsford said he would work with his colleagues to rekindle negotiations on this.

“Tyre Nichols was a son, he was a father, he was a young man, a black man, with a purpose, with a full life ahead of him,” Horsford said Sunday. “It should be alive today, and the Congressional Black Caucus is determined to make sure we act.”

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