MEMPHIS, TN—Tensions explode during funeral services for a three year old boy Saturday afternoon. Maurice Brown Junior was laid to rest but Memphis Police were called to the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church after family and friends began arguing during the service.
All week both families have been blaming one another after the boy's father, Maurice Brown Senior, was charged with his murder. Maurice Jr. was reported missing almost a week ago. The search ended Tuesday July 3 when the boy's body was found in a dumpster in South Memphis.
Loving thoughts tears and memories of Maurice Brown Junior were shared Saturday afternoon. The boy's life was cut far too short.
"Only God knows the pain that I feel inside when it comes down to my son,” said the boy’s mother Latoya Page during the service. “But I know he's in a better place and I’m going to see him one day again. I know I am."
Hundreds packed the downtown Memphis church to say goodbye. Sadness wasn't the only emotion expressed by both families. Anger and finger pointing at the boy's death sparked outrage.
"What he said was inappropriate, I don't know why he was allowed to speak,” said the R.S. Lewis Funeral Home Director Andre Jones. The funeral home donated the entire expenses to the family.
Memphis police quickly showed up to control the crowd. No one was hurt or arrested.
"This is a sad occasion for things to happen the way it did,” said Jones. “I think people really forgot why we are here. We're hear to celebrate little Maurice's home going not to look at the touchy statements that were made."
The night of July 1 the boy's father, Maurice Brown Senior, told police he found his son missing when he awoke from a nap. Brown Senior is affiliated with a gang called the "Grape Streets" and feared a rival gang took him. When Maurice Junior’s body was found in a dumpster, police charged the father with first degree murder. He's also charged with resisting arrest. Police say a detective had to pepper spray him when he refused to be finger printed. Now, both families are in pain.
“My baby, my baby,” Latoya Page cried out during the funeral. “I know he’s in a better place."
After tensions settled the funeral resumed with loving thoughts of "Baby Maurice" as he was called. The boy's mother says it's going to take a long time to heal.
"Keep on praying for me. Continue to pray my strength. Thank you,” Page said.
In addition to murder, 28 year old Maurice Brown Senior is charged with child neglect and endangerment added to a previous charge of child abuse. He's expected to appear in court on Monday July 9, 2012.