For Michael Brown's Funeral, His Dad Calls For "Day Of Silence"
On Monday, Michael Brown is being laid to rest, more than two weeks after he was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. The modest St. Louis suburb has been enduring unrest in the days following the teenager's death, but the protests and ensuing violence may be put on pause for just a day. While speaking at Peace Fest 2014 in St. Louis this weekend, Michael Brown's father called for a "day of silence" to honor his son's burial.
"All I want is peace while my son is being laid to rest," Michael Brown Sr. told the festival crowd. "That's all I ask. And thank you."
Rev. Al Sharpton, who also spoke at a New York City rally for Eric Garner on Saturday, echoed Brown Sr.'s plea for peace as he addressed the hundreds of festival-goers:
We don't want anything tomorrow to happen that might defile the name of Michael Brown. This is not about our rage tomorrow. It's about the legacy and memory of his son.
Michael Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, was also at the festival, supported by the parents of Trayvon Martin. Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother, published an open letter to McSpadden and her family members in Time last week, providing advice on how to cope with the grief of losing a son due to gun violence.
Brown's funeral service is scheduled for Monday morning at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. According to NBC News, officials from the White House, including White House Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson and will attend the service on behalf of the Obama administration.
The New York Daily News reports that Sharpton will deliver an eulogy at the funeral service. Brown's great uncle, who's a pastor, will also speak at the public funeral, and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to attend.
After two weeks of unrest, protests have begun to subdue in Ferguson, a predominately African-American suburb that has found itself at the center of national news following the police shooting of 18-year-old Brown. Although the town has traded in its tear-gas-full nights for quieter days, racial tensions are still boiling as details surrounding the shooting of Brown, who was unarmed at the time, remain vague.
An independent autopsy ordered by the Brown family concluded that the teenage was shot at least six times, including a fatal wound to the top of the head. Details from the St. Louis County autopsy have yet to be released.
Last Wednesday, a 12-person grand jury convened to hear evidence in the case, but a decision to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson may take months.
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