Cal Brown, Michael Brown's stepmother, said during the funeral service for the 18-year-old black teenager that he had had visions about his death weeks before he died. Brown, who was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri, was laid to rest at the town's Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church on Monday.
About 5,000 people, including activists, religious leaders and politicians, reportedly arrived at the funeral service where Brown’s family and relatives remembered the recent high school graduate, referring to him as a “gentle giant” who wanted to live life so that one day “the world would know his name.” Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, wiped tears from her eyes as attendees spoke about her son.
In the church filled with mourners, Cal Brown recounted a conversation she had with the teenager where he told her he was "'dreaming of death, seeing pictures of death, seeing pictures of bloody sheets hanging on clotheslines.’”
"That touched me. That’s what it was like when he was laying there on the street [after being shot]. He prophesied his own death," she said.
Eric Davis, one of Brown's cousins, urged the crowd at the funeral service to push hard for change as the black community has had “enough of the senseless killings.”
Brown's death triggered days of protests, which sometimes turned violent with instances of looting, vandalism and bottle-throwing, while police resorted to the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to contain the unrest. The protests culminated in the deployment of the National Guard.
“What you can do to continue this [movement] is show up at the voting polls,” Davis reportedly said. “Let your voice be heard. Anytime change has come, it’s come through the youth and the younger generations.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton also addressed the crowd at the funeral service, talking about the fatal shooting and also about the days of unrest that followed Brown's death.
“They had to break their mourning to ask folks to stop looting and rioting. … can you imagine?” Sharpton reportedly said, referring to the family's calls for peace. “They have to stop their mourning to ask you to stop your anger like you are more angry than they are. Like you don’t understand that he doesn’t want to be remembered for rioting but he wants to be the one to be remembered for changing how we deal with police in the United States.”
The request of Brown’s father, who had urged protesters to ensure a day of peace on the day of the funeral, reportedly appeared to have been honored. Meanwhile, a grand jury has started hearing evidence in the shooting of Brown by officer Darren Wilson, while a federal investigation is also underway.