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Civil rights leaders at teenager's funeral

MOURNERS sang, clapped and danced at the funeral of Michael Brown, remembering the black teenager with words of goodwill and joy rather than the violence and outrage that followed his killing by a white police officer.

Mr Brown's body lay at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in a black and gold casket, topped with the St Louis Cardinals baseball cap he was wearing when he was killed on August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.

As hundreds of people filed into the modern red-brick church on Dr Martin Luther King Drive in St Louis, his coffin was surrounded by photographs of him as a child, graduating from school and smiling in his Cardinals cap.

"There are no goodbyes for us, wherever you are you will always be in our hearts," read a sign accompanying one of the pictures.

Gospel music filled the sanctuary as hundreds of people stood inside the church, many dancing, singing and clapping.

Outside, gatherers sang the civil rights hymn We Shall Overcome in a scene markedly different from the violent protests that rocked the St Louis suburb of Ferguson after Mr Brown, 18, was shot dead.

The killing has focused attention on racial tension and race relations in the US and the Ferguson protests also provoked criticism of the local police force's use of military gear and heavy-handed tactics.

Civil rights leaders Rev Al Sharpton and Rev Jesse Jackson attended yesterday's funeral along with three presidential aides sent by the White House.

A grand jury has started hearing evidence on the case.

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