Sharpton said the killing of Tyre Nichols was a disgrace to the Civil Rights movement and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The reason why Mr. and Mrs. Wells, what happened to Tyre is so personal to me, is that five Black men that wouldn’t have had a job in the police department, would not even be thought of to be in an elite squad, in the city that King lost his life, not far away from that balcony, you beat a brother to death,” Sharpton said during his speech.
“There’s nothing more insulting and offensive to those of us that fight to open doors, that you walk through them doors and act like the folks we had to fight to get you through them doors. You didn’t get on the police department by yourself. The police chief didn’t get there by herself. People had to march, and go to jail, and some love their lives to open the doors for you. How dare you act like that sacrifice was for nothing.”
Tyre Nichols, 29, died Jan. 10 after he was hospitalized following a violent arrest by Memphis Police.
According to the police Nichols was pulled over Jan. 7 for reckless driving.
Video of Nichols’ horrific arrest was released to the public a day after the five officers responsible for the beating death of the 29-year-old were charged with second-degree murder. The Memphis Fire Department employees involved in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols were also fired for their roles in an alleged murder.
Nichols was brutally beaten by Memphis police just 19 miles from the Lorraine Motel, the place where Martin Luther King was assassinated.
“[Dr. King] expected you to bring us on to the Promised Land,” Sharpton said during his eulogy.
Dr. King gave his life so that the Black men who killed Tyre Nichols, could follow their dreams and become police officers. It’s a sad and tragic parallel that really is enough to break your heart.
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