Funeral service for Walter Scott, healing service set

Prentiss Findlay/staff North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey will attend a service Sunday for Walter Scott. He said he and Police Chief Eddie Driggers will not attend the funeral because they do not want to create a distraction for the family.

The funeral for Walter Scott and a healing service led by civil rights leaders will take place this weekend.

A public funeral for Scott will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center in Summerville.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was invited to the funeral but won’t be able to attend because of a competing event for his National Action Network in New York, according to the Rev. Nelson Rivers III of Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston.

However, Sharpton will address Rivers’ East Montague Avenue church at 11 a.m. Sunday following a 10 a.m. healing service.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and Police Chief Eddie Driggers also will attend, said Rivers, who is pastor of the church and a vice president with the National Action Network.

A viewing for Scott was held Friday at the Fielding Funeral Home, where family, friends and strangers trickled in and out at a continuous pace throughout the afternoon.

Sharpton’s visit happens in the wake of a police shooting that rocked North Charleston. Scott, an unarmed black man, was fatally wounded in the back while running from a white North Charleston police officer who pulled Scott over because the car he was driving had a broken brake light. A nearby resident captured the moment on his cellphone. After the video surfaced, the officer, Michael Slager, was arrested, charged with murder and fired from the force.

“The world knows what he did,” Rivers said.

A story Thursday in the New York Daily News said that Scott’s relatives did not want Sharpton at the funeral.

Rivers said the report was untrue.

Summey said that he and Driggers will not attend the funeral because they do not want to create a distraction that would take away from the significance of the family’s loss.

Rivers said that he hopes Scott’s death will lead to changes in how North Charleston police interact with African-Americans.

“You serve us, not occupy us,” he said.

He praised the swift response of North Charleston officials to the Scott shooting.

“That does not wipe away what North Charleston was and is,” he said.

Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711.