Family, friends remember Michael Brown at funeral

ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Michael Brown was remembered as an 18-year-old “gentle soul” during his funeral on Monday morning in St. Louis.

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

MSNBC — ST. LOUIS, Missouri — Michael Brown was remembered as an 18-year-old “gentle soul” during his funeral on Monday morning in St. Louis.

“He was a big guy, but a kind, gentle soul,” Eric Davis, one of Brown’s cousins, said during the funeral.

Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump and Rev. Al Sharpton reiterated their calls for justice, echoed by the community since the teen was shot on Aug. 9. Sharpton previously appeared with Brown’s parents to request that the community stop protesting violently and instead peacefully remember the teen.

“This is not about you. This is about justice, this is about fairness,” Sharpton said Monday during the eulogy. “If you can’t control yourself, do it in your name, not Michael’s name.”

“Michael Brown must be remembered for more than disturbances. He must be remembered for ‘this is when they started changing what was going on,’” he added.

Sharpton called on Congress to implement guidelines on policing and for authorities across the country to remove the “bad apples” from law enforcement.

At least 4,500 attendees flocked to Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church to remember the teen, who was fatally shot more than two weeks ago by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Some worshipers began standing in line as early as 6 a.m., enduring stifling heat. A few hundred mourners were left outside when the doors locked for the start of the service at 11 a.m. ET. Brown’s grandmother was blocked temporarily from walking into the church.

Hundreds of family members attended, along with celebrities and an emissary from the White House. Ron Davis, the father of unarmed black teen Jordan Davis, who was fatally shot in Florida two years ago, arrived with Oscar Grant’s uncle, Cephus Johnson. Grant was shot by a police officer in Oakland, California, on New Year’s Day in 2009. Film director Spike Lee, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, children of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Missouri lawmakers Claire McCaskill and Maria Chappelle-Nadal were among the notable people in attendance. But Gov. Jay Nixon, who was criticized for his initial reaction to the shooting, didn’t appear at the service “out of respect for the family,” said Scott Holste, his press secretary.

Throngs of local residents, some who previously protested in the streets of Ferguson, also showed their support. Dozens of mourners riding motorcycles arrived together, the roar of their engines snarling outside the church.

“I couldn’t go and protest. I don’t go into the county at all because you can’t go over there without the police stopping you,” said George Fields, of St. Louis. “But nothing could stop me from being here.”

A St. Louis Cardinals baseball hat and dozens of red roses were placed on top of the teen’s closed casket inside the church. A collage of photographs, a quilt with Brown’s image, bouquets of flowers and wreaths surrounded Brown’s casket, in place at the front of the church. Leaders of the ceremony were forced to skip speeches by a few individuals previously scheduled, due to time restraints with the City of St. Louis. Attendees heard from several of Brown’s family members, including his uncle, Pastor Charles Ewing, and their attorneys.

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