Congressional Black Caucus invites families impacted by police violence to State of the Union

RowVaughn Wells cries as she and her husband Rodney Wells attend the funeral service for her son Tyre Nichols at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Nichols died following a brutal beating by Memphis police after a traffic stop. (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) have invited families that have lost loved ones at the hands of police to be their guests at President Biden’s State of the Union on Tuesday.

The parents and siblings of George Floyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Ronald Greene and others will join members of the caucus, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), on Capitol Hill Tuesday night.

RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, the mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols, will attend the speech as guests of Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), who is chairman of the CBC. They will sit in first lady Jill Biden’s box during the speech, according to theGrio.

theGrio also reported that Horsford will hold a closed-door roundtable with CBC members and the families so elected leaders can “hear directly from those constituents who…have been impacted by policing in America.”

The caucus met with Biden last week to discuss the need for police reform after harrowing video footage showed Nichols beaten by five police officers in Memphis.

“My hope is this dark memory [of Nichols’s death] spurs some action that we’ve all been fighting for,” Biden told the CBC members.

“We got to stay at it, as long as it takes,” he added.

Caucus members and Democrats in both chambers have called for police reform since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn., in 2020.

Their legislation, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, has stalled in Congress. In addition to banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants, the bill would end qualified immunity and prohibit racial and religious profiling by law enforcement officers.

But Republicans argue the bill goes too far, and though Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is expected to reintroduce the bill with an added “Tyre Nichols Duty to Intervene” amendment after the State of the Union address, it’s unlikely to move forward in a GOP-controlled House.

“The death of Tyre Nichols is yet another example of why we need action,” Horsford told Biden in the meeting last week. “You’ve already led on the action we’ve been able to take on executive order. We need your help on legislative action to…make public safety the priority.”

Tags Congressional Black Caucus George Floyd George Floyd George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Hakeem Jeffries Jill Biden Police shooting Sheila Jackson Lee Steven Horsford

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