The father of a black 18-year-old shot dead by a white police officer in Missouri has pleaded for a “day of silence” as he lays his son to rest.
The more than two weeks since Michael Brown’s death have been marked by nightly protests, some violent and chaotic, although tensions have eased in recent days.
“Tomorrow all I want is peace,” Michael Brown Sr told hundreds of people in St Louis’ largest city park during brief remarks at a festival on Sunday that promotes peace over violence.
“That’s all I ask.”
Brown Sr told the crowd that he and his son’s mother appreciate the love and support they’ve received from the community.
This is not about our rage tomorrow. It’s about the legacy and memory of his son.
The Reverend Al Sharpton, who will speak at the funeral, echoed his request for peace.
“We don’t want anything tomorrow to happen that might defile the name of Michael Brown,” Sharpton said.
“This is not about our rage tomorrow. It’s about the legacy and memory of his son.”
Peace Fest 2014 was already in the works before Officer Darren Wilson shot Brown August 9 in a St Louis suburb, but it took on new resonance in the aftermath.
The nightly protests in Ferguson have been mostly peaceful in recent days, a contrast to images of police in riot gear firing tear gas canisters at angry protesters in the days after the Brown shooting. Tensions briefly flared then subsided late Saturday night and early Sunday.
A grand jury has started considering evidence in the case and some local residents and officials have said they’re concerned that a failure to return an indictment against Wilson could stoke new anger in the community.