Funeral held for Sylville Smith

Lawyer: "There is a family in the dark"
Posted at 2:42 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 20:22:28-04

A funeral was held Friday for a man whose shooting at the hands of a Milwaukee Police officer sparked two days of violent protests in the Sherman Park neighborhood earlier this month.

Sylville Smith, 23, was fatally shot following a traffic stop on August 13. Police say he was armed at the time of the shooting.

Media members were not allowed inside the service, but the family’s lawyer, David B. Owens, and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, Sr. spoke afterward.

“Whatever is out there, whatever will come out of this politically, whatever this means for the city of Milwaukee, today is about Sylville,” Owens said.

“The one thing that compounds the frustration is being in the dark. The family doesn’t know what happened and why it happened. The grief will go on because there is a family in the dark.”

Earlier this week, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel revealed there are two officer body cameras with footage of the incident, but said that footage will not be released until the investigation has run its course.

“What happened on the killing must be made public and soon to relieve public depression and anxiety," Jackson said. "Reveal all that we know to remove any suggestion of cover up.”

Jackson, who gave the eulogy at the funeral, spoke about the need for labor, education and improved health care to help eliminate the racial disparity in this neighborhood.

“We need rebuilding, people need help and hope and jobs and justice,” Jackson said.

Pastor Lovelace Redmond of the Christian Faith Fellowship Church, said he and other church leaders plan to continue supporting Sylville Smith's family even after he's been laid to rest.

"We're not going to leave them just because the funeral is going to be held today and the funeral will be over today," Redmond said. "We're still going to be walking with the family and providing them with whatever spiritual and natural support that we can."

Other church leaders have been working in Sherman Park to restore peace following Smith's death.

"It's a short term peace to the family, of course ,to help them get through this process of laying to rest their loved one but then there's also a greater longterm peace, the shalom," said Bishop Walter Harvey of the Park Lawn Assembly of God. 

Kesha Bynum is engaged to Sylville Smith's brother. She said his brother couldn't attend the funeral so she wanted to offer her support.

"I've listened to that man cry every day," Bynum said. "But I thank God that I can be a part of and help the family out."