Thousands attended a rally held by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network Sunday calling for justice for Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shot by a police officer more than a week earlier. Brown’s parents joined Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and other local leaders and civil rights activists at the “Unity Rally for Justice for Michael Brown” held at the Greater Grace Church in Ferguson, which was filled to capacity before the rally began. Sharpton, an activist and MSNBC host, embraced Brown’s mother and father on stage before he started to speak: “These parents, they’re not going to cry alone … we have had enough,” he said. Brown’s shooting will be a “defining moment on how this country deals with policing,” Sharpton said. “Michael Brown’s going to change this town.”
“We need to thank him for the change he’s going to make,” said Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who has been put in charge of security in Ferguson, where nights of unrest, looting, and confrontations with police have broken out since Brown’s death. A curfew instated by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon would hold for a second night Sunday and last from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., according to the State Highway Patrol.
Before the rally closed, Sharpton had the crowd repeat after him as he said: “I pledge, with all that I am capable of, to do my duty to stand for justice and for peace, and let Michael Brown be a point in history where we stopped devaluing the lives of people.”
Overflow crowd stands outside the Rally for Justice for Michael Brown in Ferguson.
— Elisha Fieldstadt
First published August 17 2014, 1:06 PM