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VP Harris to attend Nichols funeral as prosecutors weigh more charges

2023-01-31T21:50:06Z

Vice President Kamala Harris will attend Wednesday’s funeral of Tyre Nichols, the Black man who died three days after Memphis police officers savagely beat him following a traffic stop earlier this month, the White House said on Tuesday.

Nichols will be eulogized by the Reverend Al Sharpton at a service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis on Wednesday morning. Family members of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, who were killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, and Minneapolis in 2020, will also attend.

Meanwhile, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said on Tuesday that prosecutors could bring more criminal charges against police officers and others in connection with Nichols’ fatal beating, after mounting criticism over how Mulroy’s office and the Memphis Police Department have handled the case.

Five officers, all Black, were charged last week with second-degree murder and dismissed from the force. The department confirmed on Monday that a sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, had been suspended from duty soon after the Jan. 7 attack but has not been criminally charged.

After video footage of the deadly encounter with police was made public on Friday, calls have grown louder for local police officials and prosecutors to be more transparent about the circumstances of the incident, given that the initial police reports do not match what was seen on the videos.

The family’s attorney Ben Crump on Tuesday said that police had not been candid with Nichols’ mother about the incident, which he referred to as a “police lynching.”

“She thought it was a conspiracy to cover it up from the beginning,” Crump said on CNN.

In a statement on Twitter, District Attorney Mulroy said other officers, fire department personnel and others who prepared documentation of the incident may also face criminal charges as more information becomes available.

“We are looking at all individuals involved in the events leading up to, during, and after the beating of Tyre Nichols,” his office said, adding that the investigation is incomplete.

In an apparent reference to Hemphill, the office said an officer present during the initial encounter with Nichols may also face charges. Hemphill, who is white, wore the body camera that captured the first of four videos released by authorities of the traffic stop and violent confrontation that followed, according to his attorney, Lee Gerald.

In the video, it is Hemphill who appears to fire a stun gun at Nichols after Nichols is dragged from his car, forced to the ground and doused with pepper spray before he breaks free and runs away. The five officers who were later dismissed chased him.

A seventh officer who was not immediately identified was also relieved of duty without pay, the department said on Monday, and that officer has not been charged. His role in the incident has not been disclosed.

Three members of the Memphis Fire Department who responded to the altercation were dismissed on Monday after investigators found Nichols was left handcuffed on the ground without medical attention for nearly 15 minutes after the beating.

Police Chief Cerelyn Davis has said an unspecified number of officers besides the five initially charged remain under investigation for policy infractions stemming from Nichols’ arrest.

Related Galleries:

A placard is seen during a protest after the death of Tyre Nichols, the Black man who was fatally beaten by Memphis police officers, at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. January 30, 2023. REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer

An image is projected onto the facade of the Oakland Police Department during a protest against the fatal beating of Black motorist Tyre Nichols by Memphis Police officers, during a rally in Oakland, California, U.S. January 29, 2023. REUTERS/Laure Andrillon

A mourner takes part in a vigil for Tyre Nichols, the Black man who was fatally beaten by Memphis police officers, at a skatepark in the North Natomas neighbourhood near where he grew up, in Sacramento, California, U.S. January 30, 2023. REUTERS/Fred Greaves

People take part in a protest after the death of Tyre Nichols, the Black man who was fatally beaten by Memphis police officers, in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. January 30, 2023. REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer
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