• Vice President Kamala Harris demanded passage of police reform legislation at the funeral for Tyre Nichols.
  • As a senator, she co-authored a bill mirroring the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.
  • “We should not delay. And we will not be denied,” she said. “It is non-negotiable.”

At Tyre Nichols’ funeral, Vice President Kamala Harris laid out her terms for passage of a languishing policing reform bundle that she collaborated on while still in the Senate: “It’s non-negotiable.”

Harris told mourners on Wednesday that “Tyre Nichols would be here with us today” if police had been in pursuit of public safety. Nichols died earlier this month after being beaten by five Black police officers in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Was he not also entitled to the right to be safe?”

During her time as a senator from California, Harris co-authored legislation with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey that mirrored the House-passed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021. The bill was named for the 46-year-old Black man murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020

The sweeping package is designed to bolster accountability and transparency within the law enforcement community by relaxing the qualified immunity protections that typically shield police officers from prosecution, banning racial profiling, and creating a police misconduct registry, among other things. 

“We demand that Congress pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act,” she said as she wrapped up her remarks to all the mourners filed into the pews at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, adding emphatically that “Joe Biden will sign it.” 

“We should not delay. And we will not be denied,” Harris said, to thunderous applause. “It is non-negotiable.” 

Mourners could be heard repeating, “non-negotiable.”

Speaking directly to Nichols’ mother and stepfather, she called them “extraordinary.”

“We have a mother and a father who mourn the life of a young man who should be here today,” she said.

Biden and Harris both spoke with Nichols’ mother and stepfather to offer support, and Biden pledged to continue pushing Congress to pass the bill, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.

Biden will meet on Thursday with members of the Congressional Black Caucus to hash out a strategy for moving forward on police reform.

Last year, Biden issued an executive order designed to bolster the accountability and transparency of law enforcement actions. But Jean-Pierre said the White House sees legislative action as the next step.