He Wasn’t ‘Big Mike’ to Us, Says Cousin

Eric Davis reveals the family nickname for Michael Brown, and the only instance in which his height mattered.

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Still early into the grieving process (“You know it was very sudden, so it’s been hard,” Davis said), Davis remembers the “Mike-Mike” who played the Madden NFL video game with Davis’ own sons, ages 17 and 15. “Often he would come over to my house and spend the night. They would play video games and eat pizza, and often they would call me up to play video games with them.

“You know, I’m from the generation where we had a joystick and one button,” Davis continued. “Now you have video games with buttons for both hands and both fingers, and they’d both take turns beating me up on the video games, and laughing at me when I couldn’t do something. They would just pass me around, one at a time, saying ‘Hey, you play him next,’ and they would just enjoy whoopin’ on me pretty bad,” Davis recalled.

The last time he saw “Mike-Mike” was just a couple of weeks ago. “My sons, myself and one of our other relatives were about go to do some yard work at my mom’s house, and Michael came out of the door to say hi.”

Davis enjoys those memories, but like the rest of the family, his focus is on the battle ahead. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced Wednesday that a grand jury would begin hearing evidence to see if there is enough to merit charges and might not hear it all until October.

Brown-family attorney Benjamin Crump told The Root that he thought going the grand jury route was a bad idea. “It’s a secret process. If they come back with no indictment, people are going to lose it,” he observed, adding, “It’s terrible to have a secret proceeding when there’s so much distrust in the community, and [one] can argue that it’s not transparent.”

The family believes there is already enough evidence for at least an arrest. “Arresting this man and making him accountable for his actions; that’s justice,” Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother, told ABC News on Monday.

McCulloch shouldn’t be in charge of the case in the first place, Davis said. “McCulloch’s father was a police officer, and his father was also killed in the line of duty. And he pretty much falls in line with the police officers [in his sympathies]. So I would like to see the federal government step in and take the case out of the county prosecutor’s hands.” That action would be even more important than Attorney General Eric Holder’s visit to Ferguson on Wednesday, he noted.

As they grapple with such questions, his family also hopes for something more. “Not only for Michael Brown,” he said, “but we would like to have a day of remembrance across this country for all of the young African-American men that have been killed by police without merit.” Citing Eric Garner and Jordan Davis, he said, “So it’s not just something that’s happening in St. Louis, that is happening in Ferguson. This is something that is happening all across the country to young African-American men.”

Funeral services for Michael Brown are scheduled for Monday at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis. The Rev. Al Sharpton is among those scheduled to speak.

Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

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