Funeral to be held for Dexter Wade, Black Mississippi man killed by off-duty police officer

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(Reuters) – Mourners were due to gather on Monday for the funeral of Dexter Wade, a 37-year-old Black man from Mississippi who was reportedly struck and killed in March by an off-duty officer in a police vehicle and buried without his family’s knowledge.

Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy during the service at New Horizon Church International in Jackson, Mississippi, beginning at noon.

More than eight months after Wade’s mother reported him missing, Wade’s body was recently exhumed after local authorities buried him in an unmarked grave in a potter’s field near Hinds County, according to Sharpton’s office.

He was killed on the night of March 5 as he attempted to walk across an interstate highway in Jackson, according to media reports. The coroner’s office identified him from a prescription bottle with Wade’s name on it found in his pocket. His mother, Bettersten Wade, filed a missing person report a week after he went missing, and made many calls to local authorities after, Sharpton’s office said.

“Bettersten wouldn’t find out her son was dead and buried in an unmarked grave until this fall, at which point she paid a $250 fee to reclaim his body,” Sharpton’s office said in a statement.

Sharpton has joined Wade’s family in calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to open a federal investigation into Wade’s killing.

The coroner’s office said an investigator called Wade’s mother and could not get through, and then passed the information to the Jackson Police Department so it could notify Wade’s next of kin of his death, NBC News reported.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba last month said the delay in notifying Wade’s family “was an unfortunate and tragic accident.”

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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