A funeral for a teen-ager killed by a police officer last week resembled a political rally, drawing 200 mourners and politicians who grieved over the young man's death and condemned officers who patrol city streets.
"It could be you or me tomorrow," said the Rev. Willie Ray, who presided at the funeral yesterday for Eli McCoy at the March Funeral Home on Wabash Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. "As we march into 2000, we are saying we must stop this nonsense. We must stop this killing."
McCoy, a 17-year-old student at Walbrook High School, was shot on Thanksgiving by a Housing Authority police officer who had been chasing the youth after a woman identified him as a robber.
Police said McCoy reached into his waistband, which Officer Kenneth M. Dean III interpreted as a move for a gun. Several witnesses have said McCoy's hands were in the air when Dean fired three shots at McCoy near West North Avenue and Dukeland Street. The police investigation is continuing.
The incident angered many neighborhood residents and activists.
A Baltimore police sergeant joined politicians at the funeral yesterday and called his department corrupt and discriminatory.
"There are a lot of good police in Baltimore City, and, believe me, there are a lot of bad police," said Sgt. Louis Hopson Jr.
Hopson, who has long complained about racial discrimination on the force, said he was speaking on behalf of Mayor-elect Martin O'Malley.
O'Malley denied sending him to the funeral, and police commanders expressed anger at the comments.
"The overwhelming majority of police officers in this department are honest, hard-working men and women who don't deserve being labeled corrupt by a fellow officer," said spokesman Robert W. Weinhold Jr. He added that Hopson's comments are being reviewed by his superiors.