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Family Buries Dexter Wade as Al Sharpton Demands Prosecutions at Funeral

JACKSON, Miss.—Rev. Al Sharpton said he wanted to come to Dexter Wade’s funeral at New Horizon Church in Jackson, Miss., on Monday for two reasons: “I wanted to give words of comfort to the family, but I wanted to give words of discomfort to the state of Mississippi.”

The national civil-rights leader delivered the eulogy for the 37-year-old man whose mother searched for him for over five months before learning in August that an off-duty Jackson police officer in an SUV had struck him as he was crossing Interstate 59 in early March, killing him. The department buried the father of two in an unmarked grave without notifying his family until August. Earlier this month, the county exhumed his body without the family present.

While speaking to the crowd of mourners, Sharpton said he wondered how anyone in Jackson “can sleep at night” after what happened to Wade and his family.

“It is time for the mayor and city council to stand up for Dexter,” he said. “How do you explain how a young man ends up buried? The autopsy said that he had state ID in his front pocket, yet you couldn’t find his mother? You couldn’t find some loved one?”

A portrait of Dexter Wade stood next to funeral arrangements as mourners gathered at New Horizon Church in Jackson, Miss., on Nov. 20, 2023. Photo by Shaunicy Muhammad

Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said on Oct. 27 that Wade’s death was the result of miscommunications among multiple agencies, but that an investigation did not find “any police misconduct in this process or that there was any malicious intent.” The mayor referred to Wade’s death as “honestly, an unfortunate and tragic accident.”

Wade’s ID Was On His Body, Autopsy Finds

Rev. Sharpton called for the prosecution of whoever was involved in Dexter Wade’s death, no matter their race.

“We hear that the off-duty policeman is a Black cop,” Sharpton said. He invoked the name of Tyre Nichols, who died on Jan. 7, 2023, after several Black officers beat him during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tenn.

“I don’t care

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