St. Louis, MO, United States (4E) – Some 4,500 mourners packed the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis during Monday’s funeral service for Michael Brown, a teenager shot death by a police officer on Aug. 9 sparking two weeks of protests and rioting in the town of Ferguson.
The family and relatives of Brown were joined by activists, celebrities and politicians in the 2,500-capacity megachurch. Other mourners were at the church ground, an adjacent 1,000-capacity auditorium and 300-seat annex.
In their eulogies, Brown’s cousin, Eric Davis described him as “a big guy but a kind, gentle soul” while his uncle, Pastor Charles Ewing, said the boy is crying for justice and vengeance.
“Michael Brown does not want to be remembered for a riot. He wants to be remembered as the one who made us deal with how we are going to police in the United States,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, the activist and MSNBC host, in his eulogy, according to NBC News.
Martin Luther King III, Revs. Bernice King and Jesse Jackson, filmmaker Spike Lee, Diddy, Snoop Lion and the families of Trayvon Martin, also a police-shooting victim, attended the funeral service. The White House sent representatives to the funeral namely Broderick Johnson of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, and Marlon Marshall and Heather Foster of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon did not attend the funeral out of respect for Brown’s family, according to his spokesman, Scott Holste.
Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. got their wish for a protest-free funeral day. After the funeral service, a procession carried Brown’s body to the St. Peter’s Cemetery in St. Louis. After prayers, Brown’ father released a one of five white doves.
Brown’s killing by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, 28, is still under investigation by a grand jury.