The father of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black teen who was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri, pleaded for a day of peace on Monday when he buries his son. The death of the teenager sparked days of unrest in the St. Louis suburb as demonstrators protested, looted and vandalized the city's streets, prompting police to use tear gas and rubber bullets.
Thousands of people, including activists, politicians and family members, are reportedly expected to pay their respects to Brown on Monday at a Baptist church, located about six miles from the spot where he was killed. The parents of the teenage boy reportedly visited the Austin A. Layne Mortuary on Sunday afternoon for a private moment with their son, and were also part of a rally protesting police violence.
"All I want tomorrow is peace while we lay our son to rest," Michael Brown Sr., reportedly said at a rally on Sunday. "That's all I ask. And thank you."
Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, who will be present at the funeral, reportedly said: “We don't want anything tomorrow to happen that would defile the name of Michael Brown. This is not about our rage tomorrow. It's about the legacy and memory of his son, and the mother's son, and their families.”
Clashes between protesters and police had calmed by Thursday, which led Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to withdraw the National Guard from Ferguson on Friday. By Friday night, the number of protesters in the suburb had significantly dwindled, with only about 50 demonstrators returning to the streets. Over the weekend, the nights were quieter as even fewer protesters gathered at the site of the violent protests of the previous few days, which saw several people, including journalists, being arrested.
The White House will send three officials -- Broderick Johnson, chairman of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force; Marlon Marshall, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; and Heather Foster, an adviser -- to Brown’s funeral on Monday.
Rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson told Reuters: "I think people will be under control. I think people will leave ... feeling inspired."
"Ferguson is a part of a bigger national urban cancer. This crisis is a metaphor for the urban American crisis," he said.
In an interview with NBC’s Craig Melvin, which is scheduled to air Monday, Brown, Sr. reportedly said: “All the way up to this time, it was like a dream. Seeing him in a casket today made it reality.”
Lesley McSpadden, the teenager's mother, reportedly said in the interview: “Walking away from that casket. I looked at him. I talked to him. I touched him.”