The Birmingham Times
Birmingham police Sergeant Wystasha Carter, slain a week ago in the line of duty, was given an emotional farewell on Saturday, January 19 during funeral services at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex Legacy Arena.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick D. Smith, dozens of Birmingham police officers, elected officials, residents and others joined with members of Carter’s family to give the fallen officer a solemn, but fond farewell.
The emotion of the services could be seen when Sgt. Carter’s wife, son and daughter viewed the body. His daughter did not want to leave her father’s side.
In remarks to the thousands who paid respects, Chief Smith said Sgt. Carter was a leader. “Not just a leader at work, but a leader for his family, a leader in church, a leader for the youth because he believed in the hope and promise of tomorrow. Sgt. Carter had hope,” the chief said. “So please do not be sorry for him, do not let your hearts be filled with dismay. The solider of hope and promise has taken his rightful place.”
Smith added that he was proud to be Sgt. Carter’s chief of police, saying “as we retire your earthly badge and you assume your badge of glory.” Before he left the stage he asked everyone to give Sgt. Carter a standing ovation.
Woodfin said anybody who knew Sgt. Carter, would feel two things: “How deeply loved and respected he is . . . by all who knew him and you would feel how deeply his presence will be missed, not only by those who knew him and loved him, but by our entire community.”
Ronald Carter, Sgt. Carter’s father, thanked the thousands of people across the country for “the love, the outpouring, they are showing my son, my family . . . it is just overwhelming us.”
When told his son had lost his life, Carter said “the spirit left me” but he found strength in the Word.
He also wanted the family of the injured officer, who was shot when his son was killed, to know that heartfelt prayers were with them. “My family has been praying for yours . . . and we will continue to pray,” he said.
William White, Sgt. Carter’s friend, said the service was a royal sendoff “one that will honor his life’s work. One that will bring the spotlight to the dangers of these streets and the sacrifices that these officers make . . . like the other fallen officers of the past and the present, like the soldiers, and the firemen, and the medical professionals, and the teachers. These people, they live and die for us.”
Pastor Melvin Strong, III, also a friend of Carter’s, said Carter had a genuine spirit and like a lot of men and women in the word of God he had to be taken because “he was too big for this.”
During the services, Officers Julian Roberson read a scripture from the Old Testament and Captain James Jackson read a scripture from the New Testament. Both served in the North Precinct with Sgt. Carter.