(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Thousands gathered Sunday afternoon at the Greater Grace Church for a rally hosted by the parents of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old whose shooting by police sparked a week of unrest in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
The rally was an attempt to bring the community together after the shooting of Brown last weekend, according to fliers distributed to Ferguson residents.
Bishop Larry Jones helped lead the service, during which he spoke about unity.
“When we get to the place where we respect everybody, regardless of race, creed or color, respect everyone,” Jones said.
Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton also spoke, saying “Anybody that is going to be taken seriously in this country needs to address the police and Michael Brown.”
Sharpton also criticized local police for using military equipment.
“If you’ve got enough money to bring all that equipment in here, you’ve got money for jobs for these young people,” he said.
Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who is now overseeing security, said, “And I’m going to tell you I’m going to be here as long as it takes. My words will be honest. If we talk about it behind closed doors, I’m going to tell you.”
Martin Luther King III offered his condolences to Brown’s family, saying “The world is praying for you. Not just us here but the whole world has prayed and is praying for you.”
The rally was also hosted by Sharpton’s National Action Network and The National Bar Association.
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