Tyre Nichols Mourned at Funeral: 'All He Wanted to Do Was Get Home'

Tyre Nichols is "gone too soon, denied his rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner of the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church said at his funeral

tyre nichols
Tyre Nichols. Photo: facebook

Mourners gathered inside a Memphis, Tenn, church on a rainy Wednesday afternoon to remember Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old Black man who died three days after being brutally beaten by police.

Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner of the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church opened Nichols' funeral service, describing him as "a beautiful soul, a son, a father, a brother, a friend, a human being — gone too soon, denied his rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Vice President Kamala Harris addressed mourners ahead of Nichols' eulogy, underscoring how much his brutal beating, which was captured on video, has appalled the nation.

"You have been extraordinary, in terms of your strength, your courage, and your grace," she said to Nichols' parents, in the audience. "And we mourn with you; and the people of our country mourn with you."

"Mothers around the world, when their babies are born, pray to God when they hold their child that that body and life will be safe for the rest of his life," an emotional Harris continued. "Yet we have a mother and a father who mourn the life of a young man who should be here today. They have a grandson who does not have a father."

Rev. Al Sharpton delivered Nichols' eulogy, addressing the five Black police officers originally charged with murder in connection with his death.

"You beat a brother to death," Sharpton said. "There's nothing more insulting and offensive."

Sharpton added, "You didn't get on the police department by yourself. Police chief didn't get there by herself. People had to march and go to jail, and some lost their lives, to open the doors for you — and how dare you act like that sacrifice was for nothing."

Sharpton also called attention to the last words spoken by Nichols during his beating: "Mom, Mom, Mom."

"He knew if he could just get to mother, that they would quit beating him, and quit stomping on him," Sharpton said. "All he wanted to do was get home."

"Home is not just a place," he explained. "Home is not just a physical location. Home is where you are at peace. Home is where you don't have to keep your dukes up. Home is where you're not vulnerable. Home is where everything is alright."

Other notable attendees included family members of other victims of police violence against Black people: George Floyd's brother, Philonese Floyd, Breonna Taylor's mother Tamika Taylor, and Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr.

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Disturbing video footage released by the Memphis Police Department on Friday showed five now-former police officers savagely beat, tase, and pepper spray Nichols after he was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving.

Following the beating, Nichols was taken to a hospital in critical condition, where he later died.

Five officers involved in Nichols' traffic stop — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, and Desmond Mills Jr. — have been charged with second-degree murder. They are reportedly out on bond.

Since then, Fox 13 Memphis reports a sixth officer, Preston Hemphil, who is White, has been relieved of duty — which is distinct from being fired — but it is unclear what led to Hemphil's relief of duty or if he will be charged in connection with Nichols' beating and subsequent death.

Additionally, three EMT's with the Memphis Fire Department were also fired. Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge, and Lt. Michelle Whitaker were terminated Jan. 30, according to a news release from the MFD. An investigation determined the trio did not provide Nichols with an "adequate patient assessment" and "violated numerous MFD policies and protocols" during their response, the release reads.

'A Beautiful Soul'

According to family attorney Benjamin Crump, Nichols was a FedEx worker and a dedicated father to a 4-year-old boy when his life was tragically cut short.

"Everything he was trying to do was to better himself as a father for his 4-year-old son," Crump said at a family news conference last week. "When he comes through the door, he wants to give you a hug."

During the news conference, Nichols' mom RowVaughn Wells described her son as a "beautiful soul."

"My son loved the sunsets — that was his passion," Wells said. "He loved photography, he loved skateboarding – he was his own person."

tyre nichols
Tyre Nichols. facebook

Nichols posted his photography work on a dedicated website, and showcased snapshots of sports, nature, and landscapes, which he described as his "favorite."

"My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what I am seeing through my eye and out through my lens," he wrote. "I hope to one day let people see what I see and to hopefully admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work."

Speaking with CNN, Nichols' friend Nate Spates, Jr., said he was also a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan.

He and a group of friends would regularly meet up at Starbucks to talk sports. Spates remembered Nichols as "a free-spirited person, a gentleman who marched to the beat of his own drum."

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