The fiancé of a slain New York City police officer said it would be an “insult” to have Al Sharpton deliver his eulogy.
“He didn’t like [Sharpton]. He wasn’t a fan. So I don’t know why [Sharpton] is speaking,’’ Mary Muhammad, the fiancé of Randolph Holder who was killed last week by a career criminal, told the New York Post.
Sharpton contacted Holder’s family and claimed that Holder’s father, Randolph Sr. asked him to speak.
Sharpton’s representative, John Weinstein, said Monday that Sharpton “was asked by Officer Holder’s father, and he’s expected to speak.”
— NationalActionNet (@NationalAction) October 26, 2015
The news had law enforcement officials incensed.
“This is an ironic twist. Maybe the family doesn’t understand his history with the NYPD. The city is divided because of people like Sharpton,” NYPD sergeants union head Ed Mullins told the New York Daily News.
“The service needs to be a remembrance of Officer Holder and the sacrifices he made to make this a safer city,” another police officer told the Post. “If Sharpton spoke, the spotlight would be on him, and it would not be on Officer Holder.”
According to law enforcement officials who spoke to the Post, the elder Holder disputed the claim and phoned police on Monday to explain that he invited Sharpton to attend the services, not to speak. Sharpton declined to comment to the Post about it Monday, saying only, “An invitation was extended. And I’m not addressing it ’til Wednesday.”
On Tuesday, Sharpton confirmed that he would, in fact, not be speaking at the funeral. “It is clear though after reading several articles that some union leaders and some others want to turn your and your pastor’s noble efforts into some kind of confrontation or sideshow and not keep focused on the brutal, senseless murder of your son,” Sharpton wrote in a letter to the officer’s father, obtained by the News.
“I refuse, despite my strong feelings on police issues, to be part of anything that would marginalize and take away from the focus of this city and nation mourning your son tomorrow,” he added.
Sharpton said his intention was to bring unity to anti-police factions and law enforcement officers.
“I thought my coming might give a sense of unity in the city; that we can disagree on cases and on policies but that we are united that the senseless and ruthless killing of officers like your son must be denounced and we must as a city come together and mourn that loss. I thought you and your pastor’s idea that both of you expressed to me on Saturday showed the height of moral leadership because you cannot heal if you are selective on those that you allow to be in the discussion,” he wrote.
While he will not be speaking, Sharpton did pledge to donate $5,000 to the family to offset the cost of the funeral.
“May God bless you and your family and may the city remember a good cop on tomorrow, who put his life on the line for us, and we owe him our gratitude, not some sideshow,” Sharpton wrote to end the letter.
A true blessing would be if opportunists like Sharpton didn’t continuously put America’s police in the line of fire with their divisive rhetoric.
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