Politicians, civil rights activists and celebrities gathered Monday at a St. Louis church for the funeral of Michael Brown—the unarmed black teenager whose shooting death by a white police officer captured the country's attention. Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett filed the following report for NY1.
Thousands of mourners packed the St. Louis Baptist church where Michael Brown was laid to rest Monday. The 18-year-old was unarmed when he shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
After two weeks of sometimes violent protests, Michael Brown’s family had their chance to say goodbye.
In the congregation: the father of Travyon Martin, filmmaker Spike Lee and radio host Tom Joyner. President Barack Obama sent three of his aides.
Songs and scripture filled the service, as Brown's family members shared personal stories.
"He evolved into a man—a good man. And he just wanted so much. He wanted to go to college. He wanted to have a family," said Cal Brown, Michael Brown's stepmother.
Reverend Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy.
“In all of our religious and spiritual celebration, let us not lose sight of the fact that this young man should be doing his second week in college,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton linked Brown's death at the hands of police to that of Eric Garner, who died last month after a New York City police officer took him to the ground with a chokehold—a move that's long been banned by the city's Police Department.
“A man video-ed it. Eleven times, he said, 'I couldn’t breathe.' And the man, a police man wouldn’t let him go. Later that week, we see Michael laying on the ground. America! It’s time to deal with policing!” Sharpton said.
As state and federal authorities investigate the shooting death of Michael Brown, Sharpton urged mourners to turn their anger and sadness into a catalyst for change.
“Justice is going to come! Justice is going to come! Justice is going to come!” Sharpton said.