The Rev. Al Sharpton said Tuesday he had dropped plans to deliver the eulogy at the funeral of slain NYPD Officer Randolph Holder to avoid any controversy his attendance might cause.
"I refuse, despite my strong feelings on police issues, to be part of anything that would marginalize and take away from the focus of this city and nation mourning your son tomorrow," Sharpton said in a letter to Randolph Holder Sr.
Sharpton's office made the letter public.
"So I therefore, respectfully, want to inform you and your pastor that I have withdrawn my acceptance of your invitation to attend or have words at the funeral services for your son," the letter said.
Sharpton said he changed his mind because after reading articles about the services, he feared that "some union leaders and some others want to turn your and your pastor's noble efforts into some kind of confrontation or sideshow."
There was a viewing Tuesday for the officer at Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York. A funeral is scheduled for Tuesday at the cathedral in the Jamaica section of Queens.
The letter said Sharpton had agreed to speak at the funeral after talking with Holder's father and the father's pastor, the Rev. Les Mullings of the Community Church of the Nazarene in Far Rockaway.
The services and funeral were originally set for the Far Rockaway church but were shifted to the Jamaica church because of the large number of law enforcement personnel and others expected to attend.