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Funeral for African American Tire Nichols calls for police reform in the US.

Washington, Feb 1 (EFE).- The funeral for the African American Tire Nichols, who died in early January from a police beating, was held this Wednesday in Memphis (Tennessee, USA), where those They clamored for a reform to end violence by agents. The ceremony took place at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, with the Nichols family in attendance; US Vice President Kamala Harris; well-known civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton; and relatives of other African-American victims of police brutality such as George Floyd. If there was a constant throughout the religious service, it was the requests for Congress to approve the “George Floyd Police Justice Act”, which advocates police reform. Nichols’s mother, Rowvaughn Wells, couldn’t say it more clearly: “We need this law to pass,” she tearfully urged lawmakers, because if not, she added, “with the next kid that dies the blood is going to be in their hands (of congressmen)”. The ceremony began with a 70-person choir singing “Strength Like No Other,” causing many in attendance to rise from their seats. In the center was the wooden-colored coffin with the body of Nichols, who died after a group of policemen beat him with batons and kicked him in the head on January 7 when he was arrested for a traffic violation. traffic. There are currently two Memphis police officers, one black and one white, on suspension who are being investigated, while there are five other expelled from the force – all of them black – who face various criminal charges. In her speech, Harris recalled that in the past, when she was a senator in the federal Congress (2017-2021), she was one of the legislators who drafted the “George Floyd Police Justice Act” initiative. Harris remarked that she, now as vice president, is demanding that Congress pass that bill. Said initiative, initially presented in 2020 and again in 2021, stipulates the creation of a national registry of bad police practices to avoid that agents are immune from their actions as soon as they move to a different jurisdiction. In addition, she seeks to reform “qualified immunity,” a legal doctrine that protects state and local officials, including law enforcement officers, from individual liability unless they have violated a clearly established constitutional right. Critics of this doctrine complain that it serves as a shield for abusers. Harris lamented that “this violent act was not in the interest of keeping the public safe,” so she asked, “Didn’t (Nichols) have a right to be safe?” During the funeral, Harris was seated in one of the front rows with Nichols’ mother and the family’s lawyer, Ben Crump. The intervention that, without a doubt, raised the biggest ovations and cries of indignation from the attendees was that of Sharpton. “Let me tell you, they never asked this man for his driver’s license,” denounced the reverend, who stressed that one does not fight crime by becoming a criminal, referring to the police. Sharpton said the officers acted that way because they feel there is no accountability: “We won’t stop until we hold you accountable and change the system.” In this sense, he defended the bill to reform the police so that agents think “twice” before shooting someone or pressing their knee on another person’s neck, as happened with Floyd in 2020, who died at the hands of a white police officer who acted that way to immobilize him until he suffocated. On Nichols’ case, Sharpton alluded to the fact that most of the officers were African-American: “Let’s get rid of qualified immunity and see if they have the same manners in the white part of town as they do in the black part.” (c) EFE Agency

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