A funeral service was just held for the young black teenager gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Michael Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson after a public altercation. The reports about the incident have been widely conflicting, but it seems certain at this point that Brown was unarmed when the white police officer shot him six times, ultimately killing him.
Family members of the victim gathered on Monday to eulogize Michael Brown, a peaceful break from the violent protests happening in Ferguson. President Barack Obama has spoken out against both the violent protests and the militarization of the police force, and has even sent the Attorney General to discuss the situation with the town.
According to ABC News, Michael Brown was described as a “gentle giant” by his friends and family members. He was an aspiring rapper and a recent high school graduate, on his way to get a degree from a technical college. Michael had turned to religion near the end of his life. Some reported that Brown even felt a premonition of his own death.
At Brown’s funeral, his friends and family worked to uphold the image of him as a gentle giant, using large projectors to show an image of Michael at his high school graduation, clutching a diploma in his hat and gown. Brown had been scheduled to start training as a heating and air conditioning technician two days after he was shot dead.
According to Yahoo News, the Reverend Al Sharpton spoke at Brown’s funeral and used the opportunity to talk about the injustice in America, particularly against minorities.
“All of us are required to respond to this,” said Sharpton. “And all of us must solve this. This is not about you. This is about justice. This is about fairness. And America is going to have to come to terms when there’s something wrong.”
While the police claim Michael Brown had just stolen a box of cigars when he was shot, witnesses at the incident, including one of Brown’s friends, say he put up his hands in a clear sign of surrender before the shooting.
“We have to have a conversation,” said Jane Brandon Brown, the ambassador for the Kingdom of God international ministries. “People don’t want to have a conversation about race, and we need this conversation.”
Michael Brown’s father asked protesters to observe a day of silence during the funeral to allow the family to mourn the death of their gentle giant in peace.
For more on Al Sharpton’s harsh words at Michael Brown’s funeral, click here.