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Funeral service held for Tyre Nichols amid outcry over police brutality in US
update:February 02,2023
Flowers are secured on a hearse after a memorial service for Black motorist Tyre Nichols who died after being beaten by Memphis Police officers, in Memphis, Tennessee, US February 1, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]
WASHINGTON - A funeral service for Tyre Nichols, who died last month after being beaten by police officers, was held in Memphis, in the southeastern US state of Tennessee, on Wednesday afternoon.
Nichols, a 29-year-old African American man, was pronounced dead in hospital on Jan. 10, three days after a traffic stop by Memphis police.
Footage released by Memphis authorities last week showed officers brutally punching and kicking Nichols even when he was subdued.
US Vice President Kamala Harris told Nichols' family at the funeral service on Wednesday that Americans "mourn with you" while calling for police reform.
American civil rights figure Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy for Nichols, saying that they will continue to fight for justice and "won't stop until we hold you accountable and change the system."
Five Memphis police officers involved in the death of Nichols were fired after an internal investigation and are facing criminal charges, including second-degree murder.
The Memphis Police Department's so-called SCORPION unit, to which the fired officers belonged, has been permanently deactivated. The fallout has also reached other agencies, including the Memphis Fire Department, which fired three emergency medical technicians. Two additional Memphis police officers have recently been relieved of duty.
RowVaughn Wells stops in front of the casket of her son Tyre Nichols at the start of his funeral service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. [Photo/Agendies]
"My brother was robbed of his life, his passions, and his talents, but not his light," Keyana Dixon, a sister of Nichols, said on Wednesday.
"I see the world showing him love and fighting for his justice," Dixon said through tears. "But all I want is my baby brother back."
The death of Nichols came nearly three years after the police murder of African American man George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020, after an encounter with Minneapolis police, during which white officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes while making an arrest with other colleagues.
The police killing of Floyd sparked outrage and protests across the United States in the summer of 2020 against police brutality and systemic racism.
Police killed 1,186 people in the United States last year, according to Mapping Police Violence. African Americans were 26 percent of those killed by police in 2022 despite accounting for only 13 percent of the population.
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