ST. LOUIS, MO, AUGUST 25 (RIA Novosti) – The father of an unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed by police earlier this month told Sunday that he wanted “peace” during his child’s imminent funeral.
Michael Brown thanked the hundreds of attendees at a music concert in St. Louis’ largest park called Peace Fest 2014 for support they had shown the family following the death of his son, who shared his name.
“All I want tomorrow is peace while we lay our son to rest. Please, that’s all I ask,” Brown told the crowd ahead of the funeral on Monday
The audience also heard from civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and the parents of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen who was shot dead in 2012 in another recent separate episode of violence that raised the issue of racism in modern-day America.
Ferguson, a predominantly African-American suburb of St. Louis of some 21,000 residents, has been riven by often-violent protests since Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, was shot and killed by police as he walked with a friend on a leafy backstreet on August 9.
A grand jury of three African-Americans and nine whites is hearing evidence about Brown’s shooting and is expected to decide whether to charge lawman Darren Wilson by mid-October. The inquiry hinges on whether Wilson, 28, fired in self-defense.
Missouri National Guard troops have begun withdrawing from Ferguson as protests have calmed in recent nights. Police have been criticized for using military tactics, toting assault rifles and using tear gas, rubber bullets and other heavy-handed measures.