The parents of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old who died after being beaten by Memphis police during a traffic stop, have accepted an invitation to President Biden’s State of the Union address next month.
Police footage released Friday showed a group of officers pepper-spraying, using a stun gun on, punching and kicking Nichols, while others at the scene did nothing to stop them.
His death has renewed calls for policing reform legislation ahead of Biden’s Feb. 7 State of the Union address.
The family accepted the invitation of Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, to attend the speech, an official for the caucus confirmed on Twitter.
Biden also spoke by phone with Nichols’s parents last week.
A number of lawmakers have floated the idea that Congress needs to rekindle its push to pass a policing reform package after a similar effort failed following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota by a police officer in 2020.
The State of the Union address is an opportunity for the president to set the agenda for the next legislative session, outlining the White House’s priorities and allowing a president to call on Congress to take action on issues. Some lawmakers hope that the presence of Nichols’s parents at the address will keep the issue of policing reform top of mind.
“Earlier today, I spoke to the family of Tyre Nichols on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus to first extend our condolences to them, to let them know that we stand with them, to ask them what they want from us in this moment, to honor the legacy of their son, and to extend an invitation to them to be our guest at the State of the Union on February 7 so that we can make sure that this issue of police culture, culture of policing, which, unfortunately in this country has now contributed to countless deaths,” Horsford said in an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday.