Rev Al Sharpton channels Martin Luther King's Mountaintop speech ahead of Tyre ... trends now
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton has invoked Martin Luther King's iconic Mountaintop speech on the eve of the funeral of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.
The reverend stood beside the late 29-year-old's parents at the historic Mason Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis last night, where Dr King delivered his final speech the night before he was assassinated.
Sharpton will deliver the eulogy at Mr Nichols' funeral today at the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church at 10.30am local time, with 2,500 expected to attend including Vice President Kamala Harris, who was invited by the family.
Sharpton said last night: 'They're standing on that ground because we will continue in Tyre's name to head up to Martin's mountaintop.
The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at historic Mason Temple as he is flanked by RowVaughn Wells, right, mother of Tyre Nichols, and Tyre's stepfather Rodney Wells, left
'That's why we wanted to start this right on this sacred ground. This is holy ground. And this family now is ours and they're in the hands of history, and they're in the hands of those that would fight.'
Family members also shared remembrances and expressed their grief following the shocking death last month of the FedEx worker who was brutally beaten to death by Memphis cops.
Nichols' older brother, Jamal Dupree, lamented he was not there to save his brother from the attack he suffered at the fists and feet of the five officers, who have been charged with second-degree murder and other offenses.
'I've been fighting my whole life and the one fight I needed to be here for, I wasn't here,' said Dupree, adding that violence was against his brother's nature.
'My brother was the most peaceful person I've ever met in life,' he said. 'If my brother was here today and he had to say something, he'd tell us to do this peacefully.'
A poster of Tyre Nichols holding his daughter is displayed during a news conference at Mason Temple church last night
The family of Tyre Nichols, attorney Ben Crump, and Reverend Al Sharpton gather on the eve of the funeral
2,500 are expected to attend including Vice President Kamala Harris, who was invited by the family
J. Lawrence Turner, pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, will preside over the funeral
Nichols was a 29-year-old skateboarder and amateur photographer who worked making boxes at FedEx
VP Harris spoke by phone with the Wells family on Tuesday, expressing her condolences and offering her support. President Joe Biden spoke by phone to Nichols' family last week.
Harris will be joined by former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a senior adviser to the president for public engagement, and Mitch Landrieu, a White House senior advisor and infrastructure implementation coordinator, who is a former mayor of New Orleans.
Rev Sharpton said the family intended to have a 'dignified funeral service, not a marathon'.
'This is not about politics, it's about justice,' the reverend said. 'People are coming from all over the world, and we are coming because we're all Tyre, now.'
After Sharpton's delivers the eulogy, Nichols' family attorney Ben Crump will issue a call to action.
Tyre Nichols succumbed to injuries sustained during the vicious assault on January 7
All five cops were fired on January 20 and on January 26 were arrested and charged with Nichols' murder as well as kidnapping, assault and misconduct
Others expected to be in attendance include Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, and Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd.
The deaths of Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Floyd in Minneapolis, at the hands of police sparked protests across the nation about racial injustice.
Five Black officers have been fired and charged in Nichols' January 7 beating and subsequent death.
Two Memphis brothers say that Emmit Martin III, one of the cops accused of beating Mr Nichols to death in the city, pulled a gun on them after he found the pair smoking pot while armed and told one of them: 'I'll blow your face off.'
Brothers Demarius Hervey, 27, and Glenn Harris, 24, made their claims in a new interview with NBC News.
Hervey and Harris say that they were smoking pot and were in possession of a legal firearm when they found themselves surrounded by Memphis cops at a gas station in August 2020.
Panicked, Hervey and Harris said that they jumped into Harris' car and took off. The chase lasted for around two miles until Harris crashed. When he got out