Tyre Nichols video sparks calls for another push on policing bills

Ryan Tarinelli, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON — Video of the beating of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police officers renewed calls for Congress to address law enforcement violence, but overhaul proposals from Democrats face familiar partisan hurdles this year.

The graphic footage released Friday showed officers in Memphis, Tenn., following a traffic stop, beating the 29-year-old man, who later died. A group of five officers, all Black, have been charged with second-degree murder in his death.

Nevada Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, in a statement Sunday urged lawmakers to “jumpstart negotiations” and work to address police violence.

The CBC invited the Nichols family to attend the State of the Union address, Horsford said, and requested a meeting with President Joe Biden to advocate for negotiations on national changes to the justice system, including on the behavior of police.

“We are going to take action. And first, it’s about making sure that the president knows that this is an important enough issue for him to talk about at the State of the Union,” Horsford said in an interview Monday with MSNBC.

Horsford also said the CBC will be reaching out to Republican Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., to initiate negotiations. Scott was the lead negotiator for Senate Republicans last Congress in a search for possible pathway to a bipartisan bill on the issue, in the wake of nationwide protests in 2020 after a series of high-profile deadly encounters between officers and the public.


The Democrat-led House last Congress had passed a policing overhaul bill, with Republicans overwhelmingly voting against it. That bill stalled in the Senate after months of negotiations did not result in a version that could overcome Republican opposition.

Scott, in a statement on Friday, said the pain of the Nichols family cannot be in vain, but did not detail what actions he thought Congress could take.

“Let us listen to their plea to make our voices heard peacefully and in a productive way that forwards the cause of justice and a more just America,” Scott said. “Let it serve as a call to action for every lawmaker in our nation at every level. The only way to bring light from darkness is to be united.”

And on the Senate floor Monday, Scott said that Republicans and Democrats could build a coalition around common ground. That includes more police grants, more training on police de-escalation of dangerous situations, and more resources and training on a duty to intervene to stop another officer from using unlawful force.


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