Reverend Al Sharpton has been accused of exploiting the death of African-American Akai Gurley by one of the deceased’s family members. Her message to him now is a simple one: Stay away.
Gurley was shot and killed on Nov. 20 by a New York city police officer in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. One bullet was shot by officer Peter Liang, striking Gurley in the chest, killing him. The shooting was labeled as “an unfortunate accident” by NYPD commissioner William Bratton, who added that Gurley was “a total innocent.”
Gurley’s aunt, reportedly speaking for his mother, told TMZ that Sharpton’s interest in the tragic case if purely for “money and political gain.”
“Al Sharpton came in, put his name on the situation, but has not even made one single call to the parents to Akai,” Hertenceia Peterson, Gurley’s aunt, said.
Sharpton recently said he plans to deliver a eulogy for Gurley, but Peterson said he is not welcome at the funeral or wake, reports The Blaze.
Sharpton told TMZ he does not view his actions as “grandstanding for the cameras” and that he was asked to get involved by Akai’s domestic partner and mother of his daughter, Kimberly Ballinger.
"When Kimberly asked us for help we responded because she had legal standing as his domestic partner and the mother of his child ... who is the next of kin,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton said he questions Peterson’s motives and that he does not know whether she has “legal standing to speak for the family.”
Sharpton decided to not attend the services because of the “dispute” among family members, reports CBS New York.
In a statement, Sharpton said he would not attend, “after receiving information about an open dispute amongst (Gurley’s) family.”