Rev. Sharpton, family of Tyre Nichols demands accountability ahead of funeral

Memphis Police Force Investigation
Posted at 10:32 AM, Jan 31, 2023

Rev. Al Sharpton joined the family of Tyre Nichols at a Memphis church Tuesday night to demand accountability and change.

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

"What happened to Tyre is a disgrace to this country," Sharpton said.

Sharpton praised protesters for remaining peaceful, as the family called for, in the wake of Nichols' death.

"We are angry, but we are disciplined," Sharpton said. He called for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Police Act.

It would lower the criminal intent standard of an officer in question from willful to knowing or reckless. It would also limit qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer.

The family is also calling for change at the local level. They want all personnel who were involved in the incident with Nichols to be fired and named. They are also calling for all pretextual traffic stops for minor violations to be banned and for the end to unmarked cars and plainclothes officers.

"Keep fighting for justice for my son," said Rodney Wells, Nichols' stepfather.

The family acknowledged that progress is being made and some of their demands are being met.

Five officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith, were fired and charged with second-degree murder and other crimes.

The Memphis Police Department also dissolved the SCORPION Unit. Prosecutors said the SCORPION Unit was involved in confronting Nichols.

Nichols will be laid to rest on Wednesday. Vice President Kamala Harris was invited to attend the services after speaking with the family on Tuesday.