Rev. Riley: 'We honor Sean for his service' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Rev. Riley: 'We honor Sean for his service'

MPD Officer Sean Bolton's funeral service (Source: WMC Action News 5) MPD Officer Sean Bolton's funeral service (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Rev. Riley showed off the hot pink socks he wore in honor of Officer Bolton's love for showing up to ceremonies in pink. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Rev. Riley showed off the hot pink socks he wore in honor of Officer Bolton's love for showing up to ceremonies in pink. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
The American flag is folded and presented to MPD Director Armstrong. (Source: WMC Action News 5) The American flag is folded and presented to MPD Director Armstrong. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MPD Director Toney Armstrong salutes Officer Bolton's mother after presenting her with the folded American flag. (Source: WMC Action News 5) MPD Director Toney Armstrong salutes Officer Bolton's mother after presenting her with the folded American flag. (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Friends, family, colleagues, and the Memphis community said their final goodbyes to MPD Officer Sean Bolton on Thursday.

With Officer Bolton's casket draped with an American flag, the funeral service began at 11 a.m. with a brief message from Dr. Steve Gains, pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church.

"I want to tell all of you who are first responders and law enforcement officers how much we appreciate you, we pray for you," he said. "We appreciate how you serve us day in, day out, and you literally put your life on the line."

Following the song "On Eagles Wings," Memphis Mayor A C Wharton took to the podium to share his condolences and pay his respects.

"The shooting death of Officer Bolton was an offense to God first, his family, and to each of us who believe in the sanctity of human life," Mayor Wharton said. "He will be remembered, however, not for how he died, but for how he lived, serving bravely as a Marine, as an officer, helping others in need, educating and teaching along the way. When evil rears its head, good always shows up in abundance. But the evil calloused act, which resulted in this courageous officers' death, has again sparked a response that should give us hope in the human spirit."

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong thanked Officer Bolton's family for allowing him to be a part of the Memphis Police Department family.

"We are not your enemy. We are not the enemy. When most people run away, we run to. When most people hide, we're right there for you to see. Regardless of the circumstances, we are right there. We check behind the dark corner that most people would be afraid of. We encounter shady characters that most people would go a mile out of their way not to even encounter," Director Armstrong said. "But we do it because we love this city. Most of us get up on a daily basis knowing this is the reality, on even given day at any given time, this could possibly be the reality, but yet we leave our families at home and we come and we try to give you our absolute best." 

MPD Officer Bridgeforth, who worked alongside Officer Bolton at Mt. Moriah precinct, said Officer Bolton never stopped working to protect our city.

"Officer Bolton reminded me of the Energizer bunny, because he just kept going and going and going and going. There was nothing that could stop Officer Bolton. Not a blizzard with ice covered street, not a heavy rain storm with zero visibility, not a sweltering hot August day. None of that could stop Officer Bolton from performing his job duties."

Classmate and fellow MPD officer, Officer King, gave an emotional speech about who his friend was as a person.

"He gave the word selfless a whole new meaning, whether it was donating books he had finished reading to the library or going to St. Jude and giving platelets. Sean was always eager to help others," Officer King said.

Rev. Don Riley, of Disciplining Men, Inc., started with a touching tribute.

"We honor the name of Sean Bolton. His name needs to be etched into the memory of every law enforcement supporter. We honor Sean for his service. All his life, Sean wanted to serve. He served, as you've heard numerous times, as a Marine, he served as a police officer."

But Rev. Riley was also able to highlight Officer Bolton's great sense of humor with a unique tribute requested by the Bolton family.

"One of the characteristics I noticed about Sean was his love of practical jokes. He loved a good laugh. This tough Marine, this Memphis police officer loved to show up to ceremonies in pink socks and pink ties. In fact, the family asked me to honor Sean by wearing pink socks, so, here they are," Rev. Riley said as he showed the congregation his hot pink socks and pulled out a pink tie, which he placed around his neck.

He then continued, referring to what Director Armstrong previously said: "God called Sean home."

"We know God was not on vacation Saturday. Someone jumped out of a backseat of a car and killed Sean .... You see, we don't live by explanations. We live by promises. God promises never to leave us or forsake us," Rev. Riley explained. "God took Sean home to be with Sean's father, who died only a month ago and these mysteries fall with the Glory of God and the glory of God is the sum total of all that he is and who he is."

MPD Officer Bolton was escorted by dozens of fellow officers and cars to West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery where he was laid to rest. 

To watch part 1 of Bolton's funeral, click here.

To watch part 2 of Bolton's funeral, click here.

To watch the procession to West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, click here.

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