WASHINGTON — The Congressional Black Caucus met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Thursday evening to urge the administration to use its executive power for law enforcement reform, following criminal charges for police officers in the killing of a Black man in Memphis, Tennessee.
“My hope is this dark memory spurs some action that we’ve all been fighting for,” Biden said.
Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was beaten by five Memphis police officers during a traffic stop on Jan. 7 and died three days later. The five police officers have been fired and indicted in connection with his death.
After the city released video footage of the beating last week, protests against police brutality have continued, along with calls from Democratic lawmakers to reform policing. Some would like to change qualified immunity, legal precedents that protect government officials, such as law enforcement officials, from many lawsuits stemming from accusations of violations of constitutional rights.
Biden said he hopes there can be progress on police reform.
“We gotta stay at it as long as it takes,” Biden said.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus who visited the White House included Democratic Reps. Steven Horsford of Nevada, James Clyburn of South Carolina, Joe Neguse of Colorado and Sheila Lee Jackson of Texas and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.
“The death of Tyre Nichols is yet another example of why we do need action,” Horsford said to Biden in the Oval Office. “We need your help to make sure we can get the legislative actions that are necessary to save lives and to make public safety the priority that it needs to be for all communities.”
Nichols’ parents are also expected to be at Biden’s State of the Union address next week, after accepting an invitation from Horsford, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus.
Harris traveled to Memphis this week to attend Nichols’ funeral, where she made a call for legislation to prevent racial profiling and excessive force. Read more