Tuesday night, as lawmakers and family members of Black men and women who died in custody gathered in the Capitol to hear President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech, the toll of police violence in America was painfully on show.
The mother and father of Tyre Nichols, who passed away after being brutally beaten by Memphis, Tennessee, police officers last month, were seated close to first lady Jill Biden.
After RowVaughn and Rodney Wells were introduced to a standing ovation, Biden observed, “There are no words to explain the agony and grief of losing a child.” But consider what it would be like for a child to be lost at the hands of the law.
At a rally, the president spoke about the challenging dialogue. Black parents must have with their children concerning the police.
Biden added, “The most of us here have never had to have ‘the conversation.'” “Let’s work together to complete the police reform project.”
To put pressure on Washington to address the issue of policing, the Congressional Black Caucus, the first lady, and loved ones of victims of police violence welcomed them as guests.
Tyre Nichols may have been the most recent victim, but any one of us might be today or tomorrow, said Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., the chairman of the Black Caucus, at a news conference on Tuesday.
A video of the violent Jan. 7 confrontation between Nichols and the Memphis, Tennessee, police officers were made public earlier this month. The officers slapped the 29-year-old Black FedEx employee for three minutes while yelling profanities at him.
After being taken to the hospital, Nichols passed away. Five police officers, all of whom are Black, have been fired, two more have been punished, and five have been charged with second-degree murder.
Horsford contacted Nichols’ parents, RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, a few days after the video’s release to extend an invitation to the State of the Union speech.
The Nevada Democrat stressed the significance of the pair attending the president’s speech as he outlined the crucial concerns confronting Americans.
Horsford stated, “I hope being in the room for the State of the Union will offer Tyre Nichols’ parents some comfort and, most importantly, hope.
They deserve to hear a commitment to taking concrete steps to stop the national plague of needless deaths at the hands of law enforcement.
The mother of Eric Garner and George Floyd’s brother were present on Tuesday night.
The overt reminder of police brutality comes amid reopened congressional deliberations to craft a modest police reform legislation that the incoming Republican-controlled House might approve.
During the previous Congress, discussions centered on creating compromise legislation that would limit the use of force by law officers and increase their accountability for violations.
However, talks broke down over Democrats’ demands that specific police officers accused of misconduct be subject to civil punishment.
Members of the Black Caucus met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for three hours last week at the White House, and they came away with an understanding of the best course of action, both legislatively and through administrative action.
On Tuesday night, Biden urged Congress to continue this effort by enacting legislation that would increase funding for community intervention programs and provide law enforcement with greater tools to combat violent and firearm-related crime.
In his remarks, Biden remarked, “Let’s pledge ourselves to make Tyre’s mother’s words true: Something good must emerge from this.” “We must all rise to the occasion here in this chamber,” the speaker said.
While this is happening, supporters are pleading with the White House to be more explicit about what has historically stalled police reform, even when Democrats controlled Congress.
This time around, according to Horsford and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who are leading negotiations in each chamber, Democrats will need the support of Republicans and police enforcement organizations to accomplish substantial, long-lasting reform.