Church pas­tor slain in S.C. laid to rest at state capi­tol

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE -

The body of Rev. Cle­menta Pinck­ney, the state sen­a­tor and pas­tor gunned down with eight oth­ers at a his­toric black church in Charleston last week, was taken on Wed­nes­day to the South Carolina capi­tol to lie in state in­side the ro­tunda.

Pinck­ney’s casket ar­rived on a horse-drawn mil­i­tary car­riage, pass­ing by the hotly dis­puted Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag fly­ing on the State House grounds in Columbia, the state cap­i­tal. Eight state po­lice of­fi­cers in dress uni­form served as pall­bear­ers.

Gov. Nikki Ha­ley and other politi­cians came out onto the State House steps to pay their re­spects to the 41-year-old Demo­crat, who had been widely ad­mired for the way he blended pol­i­tics with his faith.

The pas­tor-politi­cian and eight other black men and women were shot to death dur­ing Bi­ble study at the his­toric Emanuel African Methodist on June 17. Dy­lann Roof, a 21-year-old white man, has been ar­rested and charged with all nine mur­ders.

Pinck­ney’s fu­neral will be held in Charleston on Fri­day when Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is due to de­liver the eu­logy. First lady Michelle Obama and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den are also ex­pected to be in at­ten­dance.

The Charleston church at­tack came af­ter months of in­tense de­bate over U.S. race re­la­tions fol­low­ing in the wake of killings of un­armed black men by po­lice of­fi­cers in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri; New York City; Bal­ti­more and else­where.

It also ig­nited a po­lit­i­cal de­bate over the Civil War-era flag of the South’s pro-slav­ery Con­fed­er­acy, with mount­ing calls for the “Stars and Bars” to be re­moved from the State House grounds, among other places.

GETTY IM­AGES

Fam­ily and friends look on at the cof­fin of church pas­tor and South Carolina State Sen. Cle­menta Pinck­ney at the State House./

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