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Bernice King calls for protesters to continue demonstrating for 'justice': 'Rayshard Brooks's death will not be in vain'

Bernice King calls for protesters to continue demonstrating for 'justice': 'Rayshard Brooks's death will not be in vain'
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The Rev. Bernice King, the daughter of the late civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., urged activists on Tuesday to continue demonstrating for justice for Black Americans during a speech at a funeral for Rayshard Brooks, a black man fatally shot by police in Atlanta. 

“Rayshard Brooks's death will not be in vain,” King said during a funeral at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her father once served as a pastor. 

King spoke along with friends and family who memorialized Brooks’s life. 

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“To all of my activists, to all of my organizers, and people of good will, we cannot stop our cry for justice and our fight for freedom. We cannot stop our demonstrations until our voices are heard and our demands for police reform are met,” King said. 

“We will not stop until our leaders are no longer polarized between Democrat and Republican, but are united in a ... call for healing and just and equitable policies that overcome the racial disparities," she added. "Don't you stop until Black lives matter in every state, in every city, in every hamlet, in every village, in every sector of American society, and ultimately the world."

During her speech, King noted that the crowd that gathered “did not have to be here today.” 

“This did not have to happen to Rayshard. There’s so many ways that Friday, June 12, could have ended, and a police killing did not have to be one of them,” she said. 

Brooks was fatally shot by an Atlanta police officer after a struggle erupted when officers tried to handcuff Brooks for being intoxicated behind the wheel of his car at a Wendy’s drive-thru. Video footage of the arrest shows Brooks taking the officer’s police taser and running away before he was shot. 

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Brooks leaves behind his wife, Tomika Miller, and four children, Dream, Memory, Blessing and Mekai. 

“I am here to stand with you in what feels like an all too familiar moment, having a father killed when I was only 5 years of age,” King said, referencing the assassination of her father. “My heart deeply grieves for Dream and Memory and Blessing and Mekai. I know the pain of growing up without a father and the ongoing attention around his tragic loss. I am and will continue to pray for each of you.”

Friends and family remembered Brooks as a “ray of light” and a caring father and worker. 

Among attendees at the Tuesday funeral service were Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, both of whom are said to be potential running mates for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenLawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list GOP lawmaker blasts incoming freshman over allegations of presidential voter fraud Haaland has competition to be first Native American to lead Interior  MORE

Bottoms announced earlier this month she would be signing a series of administrative orders aimed at reforming police use of force policies in the city following the killing of Brooks. The reforms include calling for police to report all uses of deadly force to a citizens review board and requiring officers who see others using force beyond what is reasonable to intercede.