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Sharpton: Detroit Girl's Death Is 'Breaking Point'

Saturday, 22 May 2010 02:36 PM

Hundreds of people turned out Saturday for the funeral of a 7-year-old Detroit girl killed in a police raid and were told they must help stop the violence that has recently swept the city.

Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton gave the eulogy for Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who died Sunday when a police bullet stuck her in the neck.

Sharpton questioned whether officers in the city's affluent suburbs would throw a stun grenade into a house before entering as Detroit officers did. But he said that while he could criticize Detroit police and political leaders, he'd rather offer a broader message to the community.

"I'd rather tell you to start looking at the man in the mirror. We've all done something that contributed to this," he said referring to Aiyana's death.

He called on the congregation gathered at Second Ebenezer Church to help stop violence in the city, saying, "This is it. This child is the breaking point."

The top half of Aiyana's coffin was open before the service at the 3,000-seat contemporary Baptist church. A flower arrangement shaped like a princess' crown and bearing Aiyana's name was on a stand behind the casket.

Anthony Givens, 55, of Detroit, said he knew Aiyana's family and last saw the child when he paid a brief visit on Mother's Day.

"She was playing, joyful, laughing with her brothers," Givens said.

He said he's been disappointed in the past week by the publicity and sharp disagreement over how Aiyana died. Police have said an officer's gun accidentally fired inside the house after he was jostled by, or collided with, her grandmother. A lawyer for Aiyana's family has sued and claims the shot was fired from the porch after the grenade was lobbed through a window.

"It's a very sad thing," Givens said. "I think they should concentrate on burying the young lady instead of all this ruckus."

(This version CORRECTS that the flower arrangment was on a stand behind the casket. )

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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