The family of Tyre Nichols are set to attend next month’s State of the Union address after an invitation was extended to them by the Congressional Black Caucus. The caucus’ executive director, Vincent Evans, tweeted Sunday that Nichols’ parents had accepted the invitation extended by its chairman, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV).
In a Sunday appearance on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation, Horsford said he’d spoken to Nichols’ family “to first extend our condolences to them, to let them know that we stand with them, to ask them what they want from us in this moment.”
The Nevada congressman also said that the caucus had been seeking to meet with President Joe Biden “to push for negotiations on much needed national reforms to our justice system—specifically, the actions and conduct of our law enforcement.” A source familiar with the matter told ABC News that the talks with the president could begin as early as this week.
In a statement issued later, Horford expanded on the caucus’ demand for significant police reform. “We are calling on our colleagues in the House and Senate to jumpstart negotiations now and work with us to address the public health epidemic of police violence that disproportionately affects many of our communities,” he said, according to CNN.
“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.”
Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Nichols’ mother and stepfather, RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, did not immediately comment on the invitation. It comes 19 days after Nichols, 29, died of the unspecified injuries that followed a traffic stop and horrific beating by five Memphis police officers, all of whom were charged with second-degree murder in the case last week.
Also invited to the address was Brandon Tsay, the 26-year-old man who has been hailed as a hero for disarming the Monterey Park gunman last weekend. On Sunday, Tsay was honored before an audience of roughly 20,000 people at the annual Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival, according to the Pasadena Star-News. At the ceremony, he was awarded a medal of courage by the Alhambra Police Department, and a certificate of congressional recognition from Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
Chu said in her remarks that she’d found Tsay’s story “so amazing” that she reached out to ask him to be her guest to the State of the Union—but that Biden had personally called him just one hour later with his own invitation.
“I can’t believe you turned me down for the president,” Chu joked.
“The situation still feels so surreal to me,” Tsay said in his own speech. The 26-year-old had been working at the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra when he disarmed Huu Can Tran, stopping the 72-year-old suspect from gunning down more than the 11 victims he’d allegedly killed at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio shortly before.
“Most of the victims I knew personally,” Tsay continued, according to USA Today. “They would always come by the dance studio, and I consider them friends. They were some of the most caring people I’ve ever met, and for them to be taken from us is such an excruciating experience.”
The State of the Union address will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 7.