Despite an invitation from a slain officer’s father to speak at his son’s funeral, the Rev. Al Sharpton confirmed Tuesday morning he would not be in attendance on Wednesday.
The civil rights leader released a public letter addressed to Randolph Holder Sr. bemoaning what Sharpton wrote were efforts by “some union leaders and some others… to turn your and your pastor’s noble efforts into some kind of confrontation or sideshow.”
“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,” Sharpton wrote.
On Saturday, Sharpton met with the father of Officer Randolph Holder and and pastor the Rev. Les Mullings, who invited the political firebrand to provide the eulogy at Wednesday’s funeral at the Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica.
The New York Post reported Monday that Holder’s fiancéesaid the officer “wasn’t a fan” of Sharpton and that she did not know why he was speakingat his funeral.
Still, Sharpton said in his letter that his organization the National Action Network would donate $5,000 to the Holder family to pay for their expenses.
Mourners began to attend a wake for Holder, 33, on Tuesday morning expected to run through the evening.
The junior Holder died on Oct. 20 while on patrol in East Harlem. Authorities said Holder was in pursuit of an armed burglar when officers exchanged gunfire on the FDR Drive overpass.
The suspect survived a gunshot to his leg; Holder died from a shot to his head.