Home / News / World /  Vice President Kamala Harris to attend funeral of Tyre Nichols who died due to police brutality in Memphis

US Vice President Kamala Harris will attend the funeral of Tyre Nichols, the Black motorist whose death after a beating by police shocked the nation, the White House said Tuesday.

Harris "will travel to Memphis. Tennessee to attend the funeral" on Wednesday, the White House said.

The choice of such a high-profile representative from the White House underscores the political impact from Nichols' death after a brutal beating viewed across the country through a series of video recordings.

President Joe Biden has described himself as "outraged and deeply pained" by the footage.

Memphis police said Monday that seven officers have now been suspended over the beating, which was carried out by a specialized high-crimes-area unit after a traffic stop. The unit has since been disbanded.

Harris was invited to attend the funeral services Wednesday by Nichols' mother and stepfather, RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, according to Harris's press secretary, Kirsten Allen.

Harris spoke by phone with the Wells family on Tuesday, expressing her condolences and offering her support. President Joe Biden spoke by phone to Nichols' family last week.

Harris will be joined by former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a senior adviser to the president for public engagement, and Mitch Landrieu, a White House senior advisor and infrastructure implementation coordinator, who is a former mayor of New Orleans, Allen said.

Five Black officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other offenses in Nichols' Jan. 7 beating and subsequent death. Video of the beating, which was released publicly last week, shows that many more people failed to help Nichols, who was also Black, beyond the five officers charged in his death.

Two more Memphis police officers have been disciplined and three emergency responders fired in connection with Nichols' death, officials said Monday. Officer Preston Hemphill, who is white, and another officer whose name wasn't released, have been suspended, police said.

Nichols' family, the Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump plan to gather Tuesday evening at the historic Mason Temple in Memphis — where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his final speech the night before he was assassinated — to speak about the latest developments in the case.

Six of the officers involved were part of the so-called Scorpion unit, which targeted violent criminals in high-crime areas. Other Memphis residents who say they also were "brutalized" by officers in the unit will also speak at Mason Temple, according to a statement from Crump.

Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis said after the video's release that the unit has been disbanded.

"It's a step in the right direction, but due to the severity of the situation it's not enough," Damion Carrick, 44, said as he participated in a protest Monday evening at Shelby Farms Park. "You got a man dragged out of his car, beaten senseless, to a pulp and nobody doing nothing about it. It's heartbreaking."

Nichols' death was the latest in a string of early accounts by police about their use of force that were later shown to have minimized or omitted violent and sometimes deadly encounters.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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