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Government, Politics & Issues

Michael Brown Sr. Calls For A Pause To The Protests

Michael Brown Sr., shown here from the rally held a week ago, appealed for peace on the day of his son's funeral.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 9:12 a.m. Monday, August 25)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's spokesman says Nixon will NOT attend Monday's funeral "out of respect for the family, who deserve time to focus on remembering Michael and grieving their loss."

Our previous story:

The parents of Trayvon Martin joined Michael Brown's father on stage Sunday evening in Forest Park, to speak at Better Family Life’s annual Peace Fest.

Michael Brown Sr. spoke first. In brief remarks, he said he appreciated all the support of the community and asked everyone to take a break from the protesting on Monday as a sign of respect for the funeral of his son.

“All I want is peace while my son is being laid to rest,” said Brown. “Please, please take a day of silence so we can lay our son to rest.”

Michael Brown Jr.’s funeral is Monday morning, 16 days after the 18 year old was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer. The funeral was delayed last week so that a federal autopsy could be conducted.

The Peace Fest is a day-long event in Forest Park’s Central Field that combines music, bounce houses, softball and connections to community resources and organizations. In between musical acts, politicians and community leaders spoke to the crowd, who braved a second day of blistering heat to attend the festival.

Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and father, Tracy Martin, take the stage at the Better Family Life Peacefest.
Credit Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and father, Tracy Martin, take the stage Sunday at the Better Family Life Peacefest in Forest Park

Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin, is from East St. Louis and spoke at the event last year as well.

“You all stood with the Trayvon Martin family. We are going to stand tall with you all. We’re going to stand tall with you all no matter what it takes to be with the Brown family, or any other family that is losing their children to senseless gun violence. We are here for you guys,” said Martin.

Martin said that he was working with James Clark of Better Family Life to connect East St. Louis and St. Louis. He asked everyone to hold the hand of the person next to him and said, “We’re going to show the world that we’re going to bridge the gap between Missouri and Illinois, and we’re going to save our kids.”

Funeral plans

The funeral service Monday was scheduled to  begin at 10 a.m. at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. The main church can seat up to 2,500 mourners; additional seating was to be available in another area, with closed circuit television available to view the service.

The White House announced that it was sending three people. Other officials expected to attend include U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who is a St. Louis native; and U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, who was expected to speak.

Even with the dignitaries and a planned picket by the Westboro Baptist Church, Austin Layne of the mortuary that is handling the arrangements said he's trying to keep the proceedings "simple."

St. Louis resident Annetta Brown said she is not related to the family, but knows Michael Brown Sr. and plans to pay her respects. "I know it's going to take time to heal MB and Lesley and the rest of the family as a whole, but if we as a people continue to fight for justice and become one, it'll let them know that we're on their side."

Sunday talk shows

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and U.S. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, appeared on some of the Sunday morning talk shows. On CBS, Clay said he did not think the funeral per se would spark a renewal of trouble, but "I'm more concerned if we do not get to the truth, and get to what actually happened, and bring justice to this situation, then there's going to be a problem in the streets." 

Clay called for community policing. He also supported body cameras on police officers and cameras in squad cars, "so that when incidents like this occur in the future, there is no dispute, it's on tape and then we can sort out the evidence in a clear way."

Nixon, on NBC, said he was putting his faith in the dual investigations: "Due to efforts going on at the same time, one at the federal, one at the state (level) and a lot of public attention, I think they have the chance to get it right."


With temperatures well into the 90s during Better Family Life's Peacefest, people and cameras used umbrellas.
Credit Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
With temperatures well into the 90s during Better Family Life's Peace Fest, people and cameras used umbrellas.

 Stephanie Lecci and Jim Howard contributed to this report.

Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille

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