After two weeks of violence and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, a funeral was finally held on Monday for Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot and killed by a police officer on August 9. According to reports, some 2,500 people attended the service at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church – including three White House officials.
“Do you realize that the White House sent more representatives to the funeral of Michael Brown then they did to the funeral of Margaret Thatcher,” Mike Broomhead asked on radio this morning. “There were no White House representatives at the funeral of James Foley. None. That’s not a criticism, just an observation.”
As Fox News reported, the White House sent Broderick Johnson, chairman of the My Brother's Keeper Task Force, and two officials from the White House Office of Public Engagement to Brown’s funeral. In contrast, no White House officials were part of the presidential delegation sent to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral last year.
“Sometimes it's strange what moves a country… For whatever reason, the death of Michael Brown has captured the attention,” Broomhead said. “It's not necessarily a unique situation… [with] a white police officer and a black suspect [where] the suspect ends up dead. It happens often, unfortunately. Even if the police officer turns out to have been wrong, we've not seen this kind of response from the entire country.”
If you have seen any footage or reports from the funeral, you may have noticed the activist tone of the event. Al Sharpton, who – along with Jesse Jackson – has been ratcheting up rhetoric in Ferguson for weeks, delivered a fiery 10-minute address to those gathered that included critiques of both the police force and black community.
Broomhead described Sharpton’s remarks as a “fire and brimstone sermon.” While parts of the speech left him “hopeful,” other aspects were frustrating.
“I don't know how much of it was a eulogy,” Broomhead said. “It was a message I've not heard at a funeral… I don't know what to make of it.”
Watch Sharpton’s address below:
Ultimately, Broomhead wondered what will come of the investigation into the events that led to Brown’s death. Sharpton referred to “seminal moments” in history that have changed people’s minds or at least begin a conversation. But what kind of change will take hold if the officer involved in the shooting is exonerated?
“What I'm really curious about here is: Will the final results of this investigation dictate the changes, or will the changes that are going on right now dictate the results of this investigation,” he asked. “If that's the case, that's the biggest travesty of all. This should be an honest investigation about an isolated incident, in which a police officer had to shoot a suspect… Justice in this country is supposed to blind.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP