Tyre Nichols' mother, stepfather to attend Biden State of the Union speech

By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols, the Black man who was fatally beaten by Memphis police officers, have accepted an invitation to attend U.S. President Joe Biden's State of the Union address in February.

Congressional Black Caucus executive director Vincent Evans tweeted on Sunday that the caucus chairman, U.S. Representative Steven Horsford, invited Nichols' parents to Washington for the State of the Union address, and that they have accepted the invitation.

Nichols repeatedly cried, "Mom! Mom!" as the five Memphis police officers charged with the Black motorist's murder pummeled him with kicks, punches and baton blows after a Jan. 7 traffic stop, video released by the city on Friday showed.

The officers, all Black, were dismissed from the police department. Nichols, 29, was hospitalized and died of his injuries three days after the confrontation in the city where he lived with his mother and stepfather and worked at FedEx. Police also suspended a sixth officer in the case.

The Congressional Black Caucus also said it was requesting a meeting with Biden this week to push for negotiations on national reforms to the U.S. justice and police systems.

"The brutal beating of Tyre Nichols was murder and is a grim reminder that we still have a long way to go in solving systemic police violence in America," it added.

Nichols' death marked the latest high-profile instance of police officers accused of using excessive force in the deaths of Black people and other minorities in recent years.

Biden spoke on Friday to Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, and his stepfather, Rodney Wells. Nichols' mother hoped the tragedy could lead to a "greater good," the family's attorney said.

Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address on Feb. 7.

Biden is expected to use the speech, which is delivered during a joint session of Congress, as an unofficial start to the 2024 presidential campaign season, laying out policy priorities that could face rough sledding in Congress after Republicans won control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)