President Joe Biden has admitted that he never had to talk to his children about how to conduct themselves with the police like many Black and Brown families have to have with their children and urged the US Congress to “do something” on police reforms, days after Tyre Nichols was beaten to death by Memphis police during a traffic stop.
Biden, in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, asked lawmakers and top officials present at the primetime event to imagine how some parents feel, worrying their children may not come home. As he spoke, the president acknowledged the parents of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man who was beaten to death by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee.
The mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols — RowVaughn and Rodney Wells — were among First Lady Jill Biden’s guests at President Biden’s second State of the Union address.
They stood up during the State of the Union address and received a standing ovation.
“Joining us tonight are the parents of Tyre Nichols, who had to bury him just last week. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a child,” he said.
“But imagine what it’s like to lose a child at the hands of the law. Imagine having to worry whether your son or daughter will come home from walking down the street or playing in the park or just driving their car,” Biden said.
Nichols’ parents sat with first lady Jill Biden during the speech in the House chamber.
“I’ve never had to have the talk with my children Beau, Hunter, and Ashley that so many Black and Brown families have had with their children. If a police officer pulls you over, turn on your interior lights. Don’t reach for your license. Keep your hands on the steering wheel. Imagine having to worry like that every day in America, the President said in his address.
He said Tyre’s mother shared with him that her son was a beautiful soul and something good will come from this.
“Imagine how much courage and character that takes,” Biden, 80, said. The president said he knows that most police officers are good, decent people who risk their lives when they go to work. But he urged better training for them and more resources to reduce crime.
What happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better, Biden said.
America also needs more first responders and other professionals to address growing mental health and substance abuse challenges, he said. More resources to reduce violent crime and gun crime; more community intervention programs; more investments in housing, education, and job training.
All this can help prevent violence in the first place, he said.
“When police officers or departments violate the public’s trust, we must hold them accountable,” he said.
With the support of families of victims, civil rights groups, and law enforcement, he said he signed an executive order for all federal officers banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants, and other key elements of the George Floyd Act.
“Let’s commit ourselves to make the words of Tyre’s mother come true, something good must come from this,” he said, adding “all of us in this chamber, we need to rise to this moment.”
“We can’t turn away. Let’s do what we know in our hearts we need to do. Let’s come together and finish the job of police reform. Do something,” he said.
Nichols’ death days after being beaten by police in Memphis last month has renewed calls for police reform and reignited a national conversation on justice in policing.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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