Michael Brown funeral: Rev Al Sharpton warns there 'is something wrong' in America

Mourners paid their respect to the Missouri teenager at a service in St Louis

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The Independent US

Hundreds gathered to remember the life of teenager Michael Brown at his funeral service in St Louis, where the civil rights campaigner Rev Al Sharpton delivered an impassioned eulogy warning “there is something wrong” in America.

Brown's body lay in a black and gold casket topped with a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap on Monday as family, supporters and activists gathered at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist church.

Brown's coffin was surrounded by photos of him as a child, graduating from school and smiling in his Cardinals cap.

Sharpton was heavily critical of the police as he addressed the crowd, telling mourners: “America, it is time to deal with policing. We are not the haters, we're the healers."

His rousing speech continued: “Michael Brown does not want to be remembered for a riot. He wants to be remembered as the one that made America deal with how we are going to police in the United States.

“America is going to have to come to terms when there’s something wrong that we have money to give military equipment to police forces, but we don’t have money for training and money for public education and money to train our children.

“The value of this boy’s life must be answered by somebody.”

President Obama sent three aides from the White House to represent him.

Around the church on Monday, the police presence was heavy but relaxed. Authorities have braced for a possible flare-up, although clashes between protesters and police have waned significantly in recent days.

Brown was unarmed when he was shot on 9 August by Officer Darren Wilson, who had stopped the 18-year-old for walking in the middle of the street. A grand jury is considering evidence in the case and could be doing so until October.

Witnesses say Brown, 18, was shot with his hands in the air in a position of surrender, while police claim officer Wilson shot him during an altercation. The words 'hands up, don't shoot' have become an enduring symbol during demonstrations.

His death sparked two weeks of protests in Ferguson every night. Police have been criticised for their response to unrest and rioting, which included the use of rubber bullets and tear gas.

The National Guard, brought in at the request of the governor to help quell the Ferguson unrest, has begun a gradual withdrawal.