The funeral of Tyre Nichols, who was fatally beaten during a traffic stop, was on Wednesday.
Rev. Al Sharpton gave the eulogy at the funeral.
Sharpton called out the Black officers who beat Nichols and called for police reform.
Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton denounced the actions of five Black police officers accused of killing Tyre Nichols, prompting him to push for police reform.
Nichols, 29, died on January 10, three days after being beaten by police during a traffic stop. The video of the beating stunned activists and enraged the communities which had been fighting against police brutality.
"They know what it is like to sit at a funeral like this," Rev. Sharpton said on Wednesday at Nichols' funeral, referring to the Black officers charged in the killing. The families of police brutality victims such as George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Breonna Taylor were present at the funeral. Vice President Kamala Harris and civil rights attorney Ben Crump were also present.
Sharpton, who delivered a 30-minute eulogy at the funeral in Memphis, Tennessee, had called out the officers for disrespecting the civil rights that Black organizers fought for years before.
"In the city that Dr. King lost his life, not far away from that balcony, you beat a brother to death," he said. "There's nothing more insulting and offensive to those of us that fight to open doors, than you walk through those doors and act like the folks we had to fight for to get you through them though."
Sharpton continued, with a crowd cheering him on: "People had to march and go to jail and some people lost their lives to open the doors for you. How dare you act like that sacrifice was for nothing?"
The Reverand used the moment to call for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a police reform legislation that would eliminate qualified immunity for police officers and address racial bias in policing.
Qualified immunity is the doctrine that shields state and local government employees, such as law enforcement officers, from being held legally liable as individuals unless they have clearly violated the constitution. The George Floyd bill aims to change that, but it has been stymied in the halls of Congress for more than a year, The New York Times reported.
"You will have to think twice before you beat Tyre Nichols. You think twice before you shoot at someone unarmed. You think twice before you chokehold Eric Garner. You think twice before you put your knee on George Floyd's neck because if you don't have qualified immunity, your wife will be telling you before you leave home, 'Behave yourself,'" he said.
"I believe that if that man had been white, you wouldn't have beat him like that that night," Sharpton added. "We're asking to be treated equal and to be treated fair."
He maintained that Nichols will be "a symbol for justice all over this country."
"I believe that babies unborn will know about Tyre Nichols because we won't let his memory die," Sharpton said. "We're going to change this country because we refuse to keep living under the threat of the cops and the robbers."
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