Attorney Ben Crump speaks at funeral of Tyre Nichols held Feb. 1 at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

MEMPHIS—Despite an ice storm that crippled the city, hundreds of people filled the sanctuary of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, pastored by Rev. J. Lawrence Turner, to attend the funeral of Tyre Nichols.

Rev. Al Sharpton at news confrence after service.

Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, delivered the eulogy at the Feb. 1 service for Tyre Nichols at the family’s request.

During the course of his eulogy, Rev. Sharpton likened what happened to Tyre Nichols to Joseph and his brothers in the scriptures. “In the city where the dreamer laid down and shed his blood, you have the unmitigated gall to beat your brother,” he said, referring to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was slain in Memphis in 1968.

“Chase him down and beat him some more. Call for back up and they take 20 minutes. And you watch him and you all are too busy talking among each other— no empathy, no concern. Then I read the story of Joseph when his brothers threw him in the pit, nobody came to help him. Nobody came to help Tyre. Waiting on ambulance service, they didn’t show up until it’s too late,” said Rev. Sharpton.


The case of Mr. Nichols drew national attention after he was brutally beaten at the hands of five Black police officers after an alleged traffic stop on Jan. 7 by a White officer, Preston Hemphill, and another unnamed officer. The 29-year-old young Black man, who was an avid skateboarder and talented photographer, died three days later at a local area hospital.

“I came to Memphis today to tell you the same mistake Joseph’s brothers made, is the mistake you made. You thought you threw Joseph in a pit.

Kareem Ali, an investigator for Atty. Crump, with Ms. Wells, holding a copy of The Final Call newspaper featuring her son.

You thought you threw Dr. King’s dream in a pit, but every time we throw something in the pit, God takes the pit and raises it up and changes the whole world,” concluded Rev. Sharpton.

While the icy conditions caused flight delays and cancellations of scheduled attendees, many elected officials, activists and clergy still managed to attend the funeral, including Vice President Kamala Harris, who delivered brief words.

“This violent act was not in the pursuit of public safety, it was not in the interest of keeping the public safe because one must ask, if it’s in the interest of keeping the public safe, then Tyre Nichols would be with us here today,” stated Vice President Harris.

“And when we look at this situation, this is a family that lost their son and their brother through an act of violence at the hands and the feet of people who have been charged with keeping them safe.”

Filmmaker Spike Lee, on left, and attorney Crump at news conference held after the funeral.

Others in attendance included a delegation from Muhammad Mosque No. 55 led by the Mid-South Representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, Student Minister Muthakkir Muhammad; Rev. Earle J. Fisher of Abyssinian Methodist Baptist Church; Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner; Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Rev. Charles Steele;

President and CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus Rev. Lennox Yearwood;  Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas); New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant; Bishop Marvin Thomas; film director Spike Lee, who has plans to make a movie about the incident; Memphis-based activists Keedran Franklin, Frank E. Gottie and more.

There were also family members of Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Botham Jean, all Black men and women unjustly killed at the hands of police officers in attendance.

Throughout the course of the service and during the press conference held immediately following the funeral by Rev. Sharpton and the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, demands were made by several speakers to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“This has been a journey that’s not going to end here. We’re looking forward to passing some bills. We’re looking forward to getting justice for all the families over there, not just ours. This is a continuous fight we have to fight for. We cannot continue to let these people brutalize our kids,” declared Rodney Wells, Mr. Nichol’s stepfather.

Anti-government protesters face off with security outside Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon airport in Arequipa, Peru, Jan. 19. Protesters are seeking immediate elections, President Dina Boluarte’s resignation, the release of ousted President Pedro Castillo and justice for up to 48 protesters killed in clashes with police. Photo: AP Photo/Jose Sotomayor

Tyre Nichol’s mother, Mrs. RowVaughn Wells, whom he cried out for while he was being repeatedly punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed, delivered an emotional plea to the world. “Tyre was a beautiful person and for this to happen to him is just unimaginable.

I promise you the only thing that’s keeping me going is the fact that I really, truly believe my son was sent here on assignment from God. And I guess now the assignment is done. He’s been taken home,” she said.

 “I just need whatever that George Floyd Bill needs passing because it should be no other child that should suffer the way my son and all the other parents here have lost their children. We need to get that bill passed. Because if we don’t, that blood—the next child that dies, that blood is going to be on their hands,” cried Mrs. Wells

Mr. Nichol’s siblings shared words of tribute and pain. “On the night of Jan. 7, my brother was robbed of his life, his passions and his talents, but not his light,” said his oldest sister,. Keyana Dixon

Coretta Muhammad of Holly Springs, Mississippi, with the mother of Tyre Nichols, RowVaughn Wells and her children.

“I see the world showing him love and fighting for his justice, but all I want is my baby brother back and even in his demise, he was still polite. He asked them to ‘please’ stop. He was still the polite young man, he always was. He asked him to ‘please’ stop. They didn’t. and that’s why my family will never be the same. I’ll always love my baby brother forever and ever.”

At Final Call presstime, an unnamed seventh officer has been relieved of duty but no charges have been filed at this time. Two attending Fire Department EMT’s and the lieutenant on scene have been fired and the falsified police report, leaked to social media by Thaddeus Matthews, has been verified as valid by D.A. Steve Mulroy and involves additional named personnel currently under investigation.

Point No. 6 of “What the Muslims Want” from The Muslim Program by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad that is printed on the inside back cover of every issue of The Final Call states in part: “We want an immediate end to the police brutality and mob attacks against the so-called Negro throughout the United States.” The Final Call will continue to monitor and cover this important story.