Ferguson, Missouri, United States
Thousands gathered Monday at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis as friends and family bid farewell to Michael Brown, the slain unarmed black 18-year-old whose death led to nearly two weeks of protests here.
The Rev. Al Sharpton said during the eulogy that Brown’s death should not be an excuse for violence, but rather a call for justice.
“Michael Brown does not want to be remembered for a riot. He wants to be remembered as the one that made American deal with how we gonna police in the United States,” he said to cheers. “This is not about you! This is about justice! This is about fairness.”
Pastor Charles Ewing, Brown’s uncle, said that the teen’s “blood is crying from the ground, crying for vengeance, crying for justice."
Brown was shot at least six times and killed Aug. 9 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, a white man. His death sent the St. Louis suburb into nightly protests – some devolving into chaos with heavily armed police clashing with protesters, rioters and looters.
A grand jury began hearing evidence in the shooting last Wednesday.
Fears have arisen that violence will return to the streets of Ferguson, and perhaps beyond, should an indictment not be returned.
Ronald Strong, a mourner from the St. Louis suburb of Universal City who attended the funeral, said that he hopes that violence will not return to his city’s streets.
If Wilson is not indicted, “Hopefully we won’t see a lot of rioting and looting, but you will see plenty of protests,” he said. “Mike Brown represented all the young black men and women who struggle in America.”