Mourners were gathering Monday, May 3, 2021, for the funeral of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man shot and killed by deputies in North Carolina, with eulogists planning to celebrate his legacy and reflect on his life.
The invitation-only service at noon in a church in Elizabeth City follows public viewings that drew scores of people the previous day. The Rev. Al Sharpton is to deliver the eulogy, and other speakers include Brown’s relatives as well as civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Brown’s family, and the Rev. William Barber II, leader of the Poor People’s campaign.
Ahead of Monday’s service, funeral home workers brought floral arrangements into the church. In the lobby, a wreath of red and white flowers with a ribbon bearing the message, “Rest in Peace Drew,” referring to Brown’s nickname, stood next to a tapestry with images of him.
Brown, 42, was shot and killed on April 21 by deputies attempting to serve drug-related search and arrest warrants, sparking days of protests in the city in rural northeastern North Carolina. An independent autopsy commissioned by his family said that he was shot five times, including once in the back of the head.
Family members have said that Brown was a proud father of seven, who was known for entertaining relatives with his stories and jokes.
Brown’s family asked Sharpton to deliver the eulogy because they felt the civil rights leader would properly honor his legacy. Sharpton recently delivered the eulogy for Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Minnesota.
Sharpton told The Associated Press that he wants to both celebrate Brown’s life and help call attention to larger problems with policing that need to be addressed.
“I would want to get across that this is a human being. And for us, it’s part of a continual abuse of police power,” he said.