NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Rev. Al Sharpton has reportedly been told to stay away from the funeral of a black man shot and killed by a white police officer in South Carolina.
The New York Daily News reports the family of Walter Scott has expressed they do not want the reverend, who has attended the funerals of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in Staten Island, to attend the funeral.
Chris Stewart, the Scott family attorney, reportedly told the Daily News the funeral will be only for close family members.
However, a statement from Sharpton said the Daily News’ story is “bogus” and “has no merit.”
Sharpton said he has been invited to preach and lead a prayer vigil in North Charleston
“There has never been a discussion about me attending or participating in the funeral on Saturday, since everyone knows that NAN’s convention with thousands of delegates is happening in New York and doesn’t end until Saturday night,” Rev. Sharpton said in a statement.
“I have not decided whether or not I will accept the invitation to preach in North Charleston and participate in the prayer vigil on Sunday. However, I am told the mayor and police chief have said that if I do choose to come they will attend the service as we seek healing and justice in these matters,” the statement reads.
As an act of violence once again focuses the nation on relations between law enforcement and minorities, Rev. Sharpton said Wednesday that his civil rights organization will stand with the family of the black South Carolina man fatally shot by a white police officer.
Sharpton said he first heard about the shooting from the director of the National Action Network chapter there.
But Sharpton praised the police and mayor of North Charleston “for doing the right thing” in charging the officer, North Charleston Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager.
Earlier this week, Sharpton called for national reform on police conduct and said he planned to travel to Charleston in the coming days to visit the Scott family.
Slager was charged Tuesday with murder after video emerged that shows the officer shooting at Scott as he flees following a traffic stop for a broken tail light. Scott falls after the eighth shot. Slager has said he fired in self-defense.
The video shows the cop dropping an item near the body that could be the Taser, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
New York was rattled by its own fatal encounter between a black man and a white officer last year. Garner was selling loose cigarettes when he was confronted by police and placed in a chokehold. A witness was recording with a cellphone camera, and the video showed Garner yelling “I can’t breathe” as he toppled to the sidewalk and died.
Though he did not mention Garner by name, Mayor Bill de Blasio alluded to his death last summer on Staten Island as he discussed Scott’s death Saturday in South Carolina.
“Once again, we are watching a video. It’s a video that is so disturbing and so painful,” the mayor said. “You can’t watch that as a human being and not feel pain. It makes no sense according to what our core notions of humanity and decency and justice are.”