Al Sharpton calls for calm after officer kills teen - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Al Sharpton calls for calm after officer kills teen

Al Sharpton (center) stands with Michael Brown and Lesley McSpadden, parents of unarmed teen killed during struggle with police Al Sharpton (center) stands with Michael Brown and Lesley McSpadden, parents of unarmed teen killed during struggle with police
ST. LOUIS, MO (KCTV) -

The Rev. Al Sharpton and others are calling for calm after violence has repeatedly broken out following an officer-involved shooting of an unarmed teen.

Michael Brown, 18, died after he was repeatedly shot by a police officer in Ferguson, MO. He was just days away from his first college classes and was walking from his apartment to his grandmother's house. Witnesses said Brown was raising his hands to surrender, and Brown's death has sparked looting, fires and angry confrontations between protestors and police.

"Don't be a traitor to Michael Brown in the name of you mad," Sharpton said.

Police have released few details about what exactly led up to Brown's death.

Brown's parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, appeared with Sharpton and attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Brown family. Crump also represents the family of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teen who was killed during a confrontation with George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman.

"We call for calm and everybody to be responsible: the police and our brothers and sisters white or black alike," Crump said. "We believe in the rule of law."

Both Sharpton and Crump called for a fair and impartial investigation. They also called on St. Louis County police to release the name of the officer who shot and killed the teen. The department had been expected to release the name on Tuesday but then backed off this.

"They want the name of the police officer who shot their son in broad daylight," Crump said. "We want to know why he felt the need to execute Michael and Lesley's child."

Sharpton painted the loss of the teen's parents in very personal times.

"They want justice and fairness. This is not a cause for them. This is their child," the civil rights leader said.

He urged those upset by the shooting not to resort to violence.

"No one has the right to take their child's name and drag it through the mud because you are angry," Sharpton said. "To become violent in Michael Brown's name is to betray the gentle giant that he was. Don't be so angry that you distort the image of who his mother and father told us he was."

The grieving parents deserve respect, Sharpton said.

"They are planning a funeral. They are trying to pick up the pieces of their life," he said.

The parents deserve answers from an objective investigation, and they won't get that from local authorities, Sharpton said.

"We want the federal government to step in," he said. "It is in the interest of everybody that you have a fair and objective investigation. We must find common ground. You can only find common ground with facts on the table."

Sharpton emphasized that out of towners like himself want to bring the St. Louis area together, not to divide the area.

"Very hard answers are needed here," he said. "We want real peace, not to be told to shut up and suffer in silence. We must have answers and use those answers to guide us toward peace."

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