Mourners packed out a Missouri Baptist church today for the funeral of a black teen whose killing by a white policeman ignited violent protests and debate on race and law enforcement in America. Civil rights leaders and celebrities joined family and friends to pay final respects to Michael Brown, 18, shot dead in a fatal encounter with police in Ferguson on August 9. The youth’s grieving family appealed for calm as they buried their son, after two weeks of protests that have riveted the nation and reopened old wounds of racial discrimination and distrust.
Can you please, please take a day of silence, so we can lay our son to rest.
Michael Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr, speaking on Sunday
Large lines formed outside the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, as hundreds of people began filling the pews of the 5,000-seat church. After the funeral service, Brown is to be buried in a private ceremony in St Peter’s cemetery. The protests in Ferguson had subsided by Monday, but the debate over his death and what it meant continued to rage. A grand jury in St Louis is charged with deciding whether to bring charges against the police officer Darren Wilson, 28, who for now is on paid leave.
We have to have a conversation, people don’t want to have a conversation about race, and we need this conversation. We have to talk about the racial issues, we have to talk about the racial tensions, and then we have to talk about how we can eradicate it.
Jane Brandon Brown, ambassador for the Kingdom of God international ministries