Memphis said one final goodbye to fallen MPD Officer Sean Bolton this morning. Funeral services were held at a packed Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova.
Bolton was remembered by fellow officers and dignitaries.
"Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends,” Bellevue Pastor Steve Gaines said as he began the hero’s salute to Sean Bolton using a quote from the Book of John.
The most impassioned words came from Police Director Toney Armstrong. He spoke of the virtues of police work and he told stories of how Officer Bolton was a hero to those he protected.
"The citizens slept very well knowing Sean was on patrol,” Director Armstrong said.
But after addressing the fallen officer, the director then delivered a message seemingly directed not only at Memphis, but the nation as a whole.
"We are not your enemy,” Armstrong said to the crowd regarding the police. “We are not the enemy. When most people run away, we run to... regardless of the circumstances, we are right there."
Armstrong continued and addressed the criticisms that have swarmed in the wake of officer-involved shootings around the country.
“I know there is a mantra which says ‘black lives matter.’ As an African American man, I understand that black lives matter,” Armstrong said. “But we can't say that black lives matter only when they are taken at the hands of law enforcement. Black lives matter, period. All lives matter.”
Armstrong’s comments were met with applause, and the director then turned his attention back to Officer Bolton. His emotional words continued to touch the crowd.
"When Sean made it home, God embraced Sean,” Armstrong said. “And I want to say to Sean now, what we should have said a long time ago: Thank you for your service to this country and for the ultimate sacrifice to this city. God looked at him and said, Sean, all lives matter."
Officer Sean Bolton was then laid to rest at Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery.
A YouCaring website has been set up by the Memphis Police Association to accept donations for Officer Bolton’s family. You can donate by CLICKING THIS LINK.
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