- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Brooklyn shooting death of Akai Gurley caught the attention of the Rev. Al Sharpton, but at least one member of the family wants him to stay far away.

Hertenceia Peterson, the aunt of Mr. Gurley, told the entertainment website TMZ on Friday that the MSNBC host only sees “money and political gain” in the situation. Mr. Gurley was shot by a rookie cop, Peter Liang, in a dark stairwell on Nov. 20 and died shortly afterward.

“Al Sharpton came in, put his name on the situation, but has not even made one single call to the parents to Akai,” Ms. Peterson, who said she also spoke for the dead man’s mother, told the website.

A memorial service was held Saturday for Mr. Gurley. Mr. Sharpton did not speak at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Brooklyn, although he had originally planned to address those in attendance.

“I do not know that this Aunt has legal standing to speak for the family,” Mr. Sharpton told TMZ in response to its story.

Mr. Sharpton said he had been invited by Kimberly Ballinger, Mr. Gurley’s domestic partner and mother of his 2-year-old daughter.

SEE ALSO: Bill Cosby loses Al Sharpton support: ‘He has to answer to someone’

But he later backed off in an interview with the New York Daily News, saying he didn’t want to get involved in “a dispute in the family.”

“I don’t want to get in the middle of it,” he said. “I didn’t know until today that the mother and the sister and the domestic partner weren’t together.”

Details of the shooting will be presented to a grand jury. The New York City Police Department maintains that the shooting was an accident.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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