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Biden faces pressure on policing

China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-03 07:12

Far-reaching resonance

Anger is still simmering over Nichols' death on Jan 10, three days after he was beaten and kicked in a traffic stop by five black police officers, rekindling a nationwide debate about brutality in law enforcement.

Condemning the officers over the deadly "act of violence", Harris urged Congress to pass a stalled reform bill named after George Floyd, whose murder by police in 2020 ignited waves of unrest across the country and beyond.

Speaking through tears, Nichols' mother RowVaughn Wells joined Harris in calling on lawmakers to act. At her side was the veteran civil rights leader Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy.

"We need to take some action," Wells said. "Because if we don't, the next child that dies, that blood is going to be on their hands."

Mourners were shown pictures shot by the young man, a keen photographer, as well as clips of him skateboarding, another passion.

In a sign of the far-reaching resonance of Nichols' death, Harris was joined at the funeral by the film director Spike Lee and by relatives of other black victims of police violence, including George Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd.

Nichols was stopped by members of a special police unit called Scorpion over what police said was a traffic violation.

He was beaten viciously, as recorded in body camera and security camera footage that triggered national outrage when it was made public last week.

Five officers involved have been fired and face murder charges. Two others and three firefighters have been suspended as an investigation continues.

The New York Times said that official figures in Memphis showed that while black residents make up two-thirds of the city's population, since 2016 they had accounted for 86 percent of encounters in which police used force.

As Nichols' funeral took place, a new uproar was building over a bystander video from Los Angeles that appears to show the moments before police shot dead a double amputee, an African American, as he fled on his stumps.

Agencies and Belinda Robinson in New York contributed to this story.

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