On Tuesday (Feb. 7), Tyre Nichols‘ mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather, Rodney Wells, were guests of Joe Biden during his State Of The Union address in Washington, D.C. The United States president introduced the couple by speaking on their tragedy as they looked on:
“We have an obligation to make sure all people are safe,” Biden said. “Public safety depends on public trust, as all of us know. But too often that trust is violated.”
The president continued after Nichols‘ parents received a standing ovation: “They had to bury Tyre last week. As many of you personally know, there’s no words to describe the heartache or grief of losing a child. But imagine if you lost that child at the hands of law… Most of us in here have never had to have the talk that brown and Black parents have had to have with their children.”
Referencing a conversation that he had with Mrs. Wells, Biden recalled asking her “how she finds the courage to carry on and speak out,” to which she replied by calling her son a “beautiful soul” and standing firm in the hope that “something good will come of this.”
Biden held police responsible for the actions of those within their ranks who choose to break the law while acknowledging “overworked” officers’ roles as “social workers, psychologists responding to drug overdoses, mental health crises, and so much more.” He then called for leaders to turn their focus to police reform:
“I know most cops are good, honorable, decent people. They risk their lives every time they put that shield on. But what happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better. Give law enforcement the real training they need. Hold them to higher standards. Help them succeed in keeping us safe.”
You can watch Biden‘s entire State of the Union address to the nation below.