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Parents of Tyre Nichols invited to State of the Union address after public outcry following his death: ‘Law enforcement has an obligation to do its job’

Tyre Nichols' mom RowVaughn Wells closes her eyes in grief as Ben Crump puts a hand on her shoulder in comfortRowVaughn Wells, mother of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, is comforted at a news conference with civil rights Attorney Ben Crump in Memphis, Tenn., Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

  • The parents of Tyre Nichols are invited to next week’s presidential State of the Union address.
  • Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, extended the invitation.
  • Horsford said Sunday on MSNBC he aims to push for reforms to the criminal legal system.

The parents of Tyre Nichols, who died earlier this month after being beaten by Memphis police officers, have been invited to next week’s State of the Union address.

Rep. Steven Horsford of Nevada, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, extended the invitation to Nichols’ grieving parents. In an appearance PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Horsford said he spoke with the man’s family “to first extend our condolences to them, to let them know that we stand with them, to ask them what they want from us in this moment.”

Horsford went on to say in both the MSNBC appearance and a statement released through the Caucus that he was calling for President Joe Biden to meet with the family and would be pursuing national reforms to the criminal legal system.

“Everyone should agree people should be safe, safe in our communities and law enforcement has an obligation to do its job,” Horsford told host Rev. Al Sharpton in his PoliticsNation interview.

Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, mother and stepfather of Nichols, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Representatives for Rep. Horsford did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

The address will take place on Tuesday, February 7. Reuters reported the war in Ukraine is expected to be a prevalent topic in the annual speech, but Nichols’ death has reignited national protests and political conversation about police accountability and reform that may also be highlighted.

“Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death,” Biden said in a statement on Friday evening, calling for “real and lasting change” to use of force policies and describing Nichols’ death as “yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.” 

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