Rev. Al Sharpton called on Congress to push through anti-police brutality legislation in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death and funeral, where he delivered a rousing eulogy on Wednesday.
During a Thursday appearance on “Morning Joe,” the civil rights activist and MSNBC contributor said the time had come “for Congress to stop this and really up the ante legally” on police accountability.
“I think when Americans saw that video of a man, they didn’t even ask him for his license and registration. They never said, ‘We stopped you for this crime.’ They just dragged him out of the car and started beating him, and a lot of Americans said, ‘Wait a minute now, this is a bridge too far,'” Sharpton told “Morning Joe” panelist Willie Geist.
When asked whether anything had changed two years after the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act languished in negotiations, Sharpton was cautiously optimistic.
“There’s a sense that maybe there can be a movement forward,” he said. “Some of the senators are up for reelection next year that were not up to reelection after George [Floyd’s death]. Unfortunately, politics plays a lot in this.”
He mentioned that President Biden is “pushing hard” and that Kamala Harris attending the funeral sends “a signal, and we only need in a couple of votes, a few votes that could have given us the filibuster that passed the House last time.”
“I think there’s a new sense of urgency,” he added.
Sharpton also reflected on the “remarkable” eulogy delivered by Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells. “People need to know that no one gave her those lines. She wasn’t reading, this was from her heart,” he said. Her faith that her son “was on an assignment from God” is what strengthens and will continue to strengthen her “when all the cameras are gone,” he added.
In his own speech at Nichols’ funeral, Sharpton drew a parallel between footage of Nichols telling the officers who killed him that he just wanted to go home and the Civil Rights Movement.
“He said, ‘All I want to do is get home,'” the reverend told the funeral attendees. “I want to get where they can’t treat me with a double standard. We’re asking to be treated equal and to be treated fair.”
“And just like when they marched and boycotted and went to jail for nine years, from the ’55 Montgomery bus boycott to the ’64 Civil Rights Act,” he continued, “We’re going to pay the same dues to get this George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”
Watch Sharpton’s full “Morning Joe” segment above.