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Sharpton blasts police at Brown funeral

Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a eulogy at slain teenager Michael Brown’s funeral in St. Louis Monday, saying it was “time to deal with policing” and questioning the use of military equipment and tactics by local cops.

Sharpton blasted the practice of sending surplus military equipment to local police forces, when “we don’t have money for training and public education and money to train our children.”

{mosads}Brown, 18, was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., sparking days of protests and a police crackdown that critics said further raised tensions.

The protests drew attention to the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which provides military equipment to law enforcement, after Ferguson police used armored personnel carriers and tear gas to quell demonstrations.

President Obama has ordered a review of the program, and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has said he would also investigate the issue. The Justice Department has also launched a civil rights probe into Ferguson.

Several hundred people attended Brown’s funeral at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, including Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who represents Ferguson.

Clay was joined by other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Al Green (D-Texas), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), according to reports.

Obama sent three White House aides to the funeral: Broderick Johnson, chairman of the president’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, White House Office of Public Engagement Deputy Director Marlon Marshall and adviser Heather Foster.

A memorial fund set up in Brown’s name had raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars by the start of the funeral. 

Speakers at the funeral promised to press for justice.

“We aren’t in show business,” Sharpton said in a fiery speech, noting that the media’s attention would eventually fade.

“This is a struggle, and we got to hold each other up,” he added.

“We will not accept three-fifths justice,” said Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump. “We will demand equal Justice for Michael Brown Jr.”

On Sunday, Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., told those gathered to protest police violence that all he wanted is “peace while we lay our son to rest,” according to Reuters. He did not speak at the funeral.

Brown’s stepmother said when she spoke to her son recently, he had predicted his own death, lamenting the violence that took his life.

A speaker who was identified only as a “family representative” said the funeral was a day for “peace” and that the push for equality would continue.

“It’s gonna shake the heavens from the thunder that we release,” he said. “But not today. Today is for peace.

“We do not say goodbye. We say good journey until we meet again,” he added.

McCaskill tweeted before the funeral that she was attending “as a mother, not as an elected official.”

She sat next to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who tweeted before the service that Brown’s funeral “reminds us that every death leaves as many stories untold as recalled.”

“Unite. Not divide. That’s the lesson and the challenge,” he added.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D), who has been criticized for his response to events in Ferguson, did not attend the funeral “out of respect for the family.”

Cleaver also tweeted during the funeral, seizing on the militarization of local police forces.

“Thank you, President Obama for ordering a review of federal programs that contribute to militarization of police,” Cleaver said.

Clay and Cleaver last week urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to rein in the Pentagon’s 1033 program.

— This story was updated at 2:31 p.m.

Tags Al Sharpton Ferguson shooting Michael Brown
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