Tyre Nichols’ funeral set for Wednesday in Memphis

Tyre Nichols’ funeral set for Wednesday in Memphis

The funeral service for Tyre Nichols, who died in early January following a vicious beating at the hands of police officers, is set for Wednesday afternoon in Memphis after a brief weather delay.

Nichols, 29, a FedEx worker and father of one who loved to skateboard, will be remembered at a 2 p.m. celebration of life service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church Wednesday.

Nichols died on Jan. 10, three days after he was severely injured by five police officers during an alleged traffic stop just yards from his mother’s home.

Grisly body cam footage of the incident– which showed the cops forcing Nichols to his knees while he pleaded for his life– subsequently prompted yet another national reckoning about police violence.  

All five officers, some of whom were part of a now-disbanded SCORPION saturation unit, have since been fired and arrested on murder charges. 

Paramedics stand near Tyre Nichols, seated leaning against a car, as police officers, right, stand at the scene following the brutal attack.
Paramedics stand near Tyre Nichols, seated leaning against a car, as police officers, right, stand at the scene following the brutal attack.

Three Memphis Fire Department employees have also been fired, and two sheriff’s deputies and two other police officers have been placed on leave.

Originally scheduled for 10:00 a.m., the service for Nichols was delayed due to ongoing winter weather in the Memphis area.

Tyre Nichols, a black man, in hospital bed with his face swollen shut and hooked up to a ventilator.
Tyre Nichols pictured in the hospital shortly before his death.
Family of Tyre Nichols

The Rev. Al Sharpton is set to deliver the eulogy, CNN reported.

The rights activist and Baptist minister joined members of Nichols’ family Tuesday evening at the Mason Temple Church of God in Christ headquarters in Memphis, the outlet reported.

The site is best remembered as where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech the night before his assassination.

Kamala Harris speaking at a podium.
VP Kamala Harris will attend the service.
Michael Reynolds – Pool via CNP

At the gathering, Sharpton called Nichols’ killing a “disgrace to this country,” noting that Nichols now joins a long list of Black Americans killed by law enforcement.

“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,” he said.

 “But we will never leave them.”

Protestors hold cardboard signs with words like "Justice" on them, along with pictures of Nichols, while standing behind a podium.
Protestors hold signs during a news conference addressing Nichols’ death on Tuesday.

Vice President Kamala Harris will also attend the funeral.

Nichols’ loved ones will also be supported by the family members of other black victims of police violence.

Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, will be at the service, as will Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, according to CNN.

RowVaughn Wells, Tyre Nichols' mother, sits with her eyes closed.
RowVaughn Wells, Tyre Nichols’ mother, pauses during the Tuesday news conference.

The deaths of both Taylor and Floyd – who were killed by police within two months of each other in spring 2020– prompted widespread outrage and months of protests against institutionalized racism and police brutality.

Speaking to FOX 26 last week, Philonise Floyd described Nichols’ killing as “devastating.”   

Tyre Nichols' stepfather, Rodney Wells, speaks from behind a podium.
Tyre Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, addresses the crowd Tuesday.
AFP via Getty Images

“Tyre Nichols, he should still be alive today,” he lamented to reporter Sherman Desselle.

Citizens of Memphis are also expected to use Nichols’ celebration of life as a space for collective healing.

“It is good for us to be together in the same space and, yes, cry with each other and also find hope that will drive us to hopefully dismantle this culture that normalizes this kind of violence,” the Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church told the New York Times in the lead-up to the event.

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