Feb 1, 2023 - News

Tyre Nichols' funeral to take place in Memphis

Candles and a sign for Tyre Nichols.

A candlelight vigil in memory of Tyre Nichols at the Tobey Skate Park in Memphis. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Tyre Nichols' funeral takes place Wednesday in Memphis.

The Rev. J. Lawrence Turner, who is leading the service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, tells Axios it will be a tribute to the free-spirited amateur photographer who loved skateboarding and watching the sun set over the Mississippi River.

  • It will be a moment of grief for a community suffering yet another "collective trauma."
  • Turner hopes the 29-year-old's funeral will also become a rallying cry that will encourage mourners to channel their outrage into the ongoing fight for systemic change.

What he's saying: "This is a big moment," Turner says.

  • The Rev. Al Sharpton, who is giving the eulogy, asked Turner to host the service at his church.
  • "We're trying to do our best to combine all of these elements so that this service has meaning and purpose."

Driving the news: Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died three days after a brutal police beating. Five officers who are also Black have been charged with murder.

Protests rolled across the country last weekend, and Nichols' name was added to the long list of Black people killed by police. Some expressed their weariness.

  • "We wouldn't be fully human if we couldn't admit that there are times where we're like, you know, 'What's the use?'" Turner says.
  • "But we don't allow ourselves to stay there. We find the energy and the strength to keep pressing on."

State of play: Turner says he has seen positive, if incremental, change.

  • Last year, Shelby County elected progressive District Attorney Steve Mulroy. Turner tied that election with the speedy investigation and indictments in this case.

"I always talk about justice as a destination," Turner says, adding that many more steps will be necessary.

The bottom line: Turner says Nichols "represents many of us who have hopes and aspirations and dreams."

  • "Tragically, his life was taken away at the hands of those officers," he says. "However, I think he teaches us to live and fulfill a greater purpose."
  • "I think in his life, and even in his death, he's going to hopefully shift and bring about a change that we've been waiting for in the life of our country."

Watch: The service will take place Wednesday at 10:30am. You can stream it live on WREG.com.


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