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People raise their hands during a rally at Greater Grace Church, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, for Michael Brown, who was killed by police, last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo.

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press - Ap

Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at a rally at Greater Grace Church, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, for Michael Brown who was killed by police, last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. Brown's shooting in the middle of a street, following a suspected robbery of a box of cigars from a nearby market, has sparked a week of protests, riots and looting in the St. Louis suburb.

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press - Ap

Sharpton: Ferguson shooting is 'defining moment'

  • Associated Press
  • August 17, 2014 - 6:17 PM

FERGUSON, Mo. — The Rev. Al Sharpton called the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in suburban St. Louis a "defining moment for this country."

Sharpton spoke Sunday at a rally in Ferguson, where days of protest have ended with almost nightly confrontations between police and protesters.

Sharpton says he wants Congress to stop programs that provide military-style weaponry to police departments. He says he expects police to "smear" the slain teenager, his family and his attorneys.

He also condemned the recent spate of violence and looting in Ferguson.

© 2014 Star Tribune