The Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday’s funeral for Tire Nichols would be “about justice,” not politics, as he, other civil rights activists and Nichols’ family called for reform, To prevent what happened in Memphis from happening again.
The families of Sharpton and Nichols gathered at Christ Church in Memphis on Tuesday ahead of Nichols’ planned funeral on Wednesday to express solidarity with his death and push for action and legislation to change the treatment of black people before certain officials The way.
“Tomorrow we will have a dignified funeral, not a marathon, for the family to mourn and receive any messages and the vice president, but it’s not about politics tomorrow — it’s about justice,” Sharpton said.
Vice President Harris is scheduled to attend Nichols’ funeral on Wednesday.
Sharpton and other speakers renewed calls on Congress to pass the George Floyd Police Justice Act, which would take steps such as requiring officers nationwide to wear body cameras, banning officers from chokeholds and declaring deadly force only Use as a last resort.
The bill passed the House in the final session of Congress before stalling in the Senate.
Sharpton also called for the elimination of conditional immunity, which protects officials from civil lawsuits in the performance of their duties in most cases.
“We are here to establish and declare that we will continue this fight around police brutality and killings until we change federal law,” he said. “What happened to Thiel is a disgrace to this country.”
People all over the world are now seeing the video of an unarmed man who was “beaten to death” “for no reason,” he said.
He said the officers responsible for beating Nichols and leaving him on the ground for more than 20 minutes without medical attention thought no one would respond or care. But he said “we are all Tire now” and that people around the world, including the vice president, will “stand with this family.”
The press conference was held at the church where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his last speech, entitled “I’ve Been to the Top of the Mountain,” on April 3, 1968, the day before he was assassinated. King’s speech has been interpreted as referring to equal rights and protections for everyone.
“We wanted to take this family the night before the funeral — the night before Dr. King was killed, this is where he spoke — and they stood there, because we’re going to continue to Martin’s in Till’s name. Hilltop,” Sharpton said.
Fantner, president of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP, said people are tired of “verbal promises” and want to see action. Activists need to “focus” on the cause and make sure Nichols doesn’t “die in vain”, he said.
He said police should have a duty to de-escalate, intervene, provide assistance and be present.
“You don’t have to be trained to be a decent human being,” Turner said. “You don’t have to go through the police process to know if a guy is sitting there, slumped, you have to offer him help so he can live. I’m not a police officer, I know that.”