Sharpton to speak at funeral of teen killed by Ferguson officer

Mourners are expected to gather at a St. Louis church Monday morning for the funeral services for 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., earlier this month.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to speak at services for the teenager, according to the National Action Network, and three White House officials are expected to be in attendance. Services are set for 10 a.m. at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, which can hold more than 4,000 people.

“I think that what we can say is that we must turn this moment into a movement to really deal with the underlying issues of police accountability and what is and is not allowable by police, and what citizens ought to be moving toward,” Sharpton said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “I think that we need to deal with how we move toward solutions, how we deal with the whole aggressive policing of what is considered low-level crimes.”

The Rev. Charles Ewing, a relative of Brown’s, is also scheduled to speak at the services, which are reportedly being paid for by Alpha Phi Alpha, a black fraternity. His father, Michael Brown Sr., on Sunday spoke with a St. Louis radio station and asked for protests in the area to stop for the day.

“I would like for no protesting going on,” Michael Brown Sr. said during the interview, according to a BuzzFeed report. “We just want a moment of silence that whole day. Just out of respect for our son.”

Police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis. Crowds have gathered in the area in the days that followed, and their protests have drawn a heavy police response.

Brown was unarmed. He was hit multiple times, according to autopsy reports. Many details of the shooting still remain unclear, however; police have said that there was apparently a struggle over the officer’s gun, while a friend of Brown’s has told authorities that Wilson was the instigator.

 

Brown’s body lay on Canfield Drive for hours afterward, and Wilson, 28, has not been seen in public since his name was released. The case went to a grand jury last week, but deliberations aren’t expected to conclude until the fall.

“We know this is of interest to a lot of people around the country,” Edward Magee, spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, said last week. “We’re going to do this fairly and also attempt to do it in a timely manner.”

Over the weekend, supporters of Wilson gathered at a St. Louis tavern. Many of those who attended the rally at Barney’s Sports Pub had connections to law enforcement; some bought T-shirts that read “Officer Darren Wilson. We Stand By You. 8-9-14,” and stood along the roadway waving signs of support.

On Saturday, a counter protest formed across the street, and passing motorists began to honk at both sides of the road. The rally and counter protest were mostly split along racial lines and at times grew heated, with the two sides screaming from opposite sides of Chippewa Street.

 

Sarah Larimer is a general assignment reporter for the Washington Post.
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Sarah Larimer · August 24