*The Akai Gurley shooting death at the hands of a rookie NYPD cop in a dark public housing stairwell in Brooklyn is drama itself.
Now comes word that the deceased’s family is at odds with itself over whether Rev. Al Sharpton should play a part in the funeral on Saturday.
Here’s what Hertenceia Peterson, Gurley’s aunt – speaking for his mother- told TMZ:
“Al Sharpton came in, put his name on the situation, but has not even made one single call to the parents to Akai.”
Peterson added that all Sharpton sees “is money and political gain and that he is turning the tragedy into a circus.”
The family drama around his involvement has caused Sharpton to cancel his plans of participating in Gurley’s funeral services. In a statement sent to EURweb on Friday (12-05-14) afternoon, Rev. Sharpton explains what his position is:
“It has come to my attention that due to some interaction in the family around the services for Akai Gurley tonight and tomorrow, that services may be altered. I encourage the family and community to unite for justice and deal with other matters at another time.
I was scheduled to speak tonight in Washington, D.C. at the private memorial service for Marion Barry and to be in Staten Island tomorrow afternoon. I altered my schedule based on Kimberly Ballinger’s request, the domestic partner of Akai Gurley, to come tonight to Brooklyn; because I think that we need a fair and open investigation. I also do not want to get in the middle of any confusion or division.
The mother of Eric Garner, Gwen Carr, and I will pay our respects tonight to the entire family and community by viewing the body but I will not engage in any of the program. I hope that leaders and community members rally around the domestic partner, mother and everyone in whatever way they decide to proceed. Tomorrow Attorney Benjamin Crump on behalf of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin’s families will join us to announce a week count down to the national march in Washington D.C., at the site of Eric Garners death in Staten Island at 1:30 p.m. We are glad that Kimberly Ballinger will join those families and the Garner’s at the march next week.”
Gurley was described by NYPD chief Bill Bratton as a “total innocent” who was the victim of a tragic accident. However, reports are that a grand jury will convene to consider charges against Officer Peter Liang.