By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to speak at the funeral on Wednesday for New York City Police Officer Randolph Holder, who was shot to death last week while on patrol in the city's East Harlem neighborhood.
The prominent activist, media figure and long-time critic of the New York City Police Department was asked to speak at the service by Holder's father, a spokesman for Sharpton said.
Holder was killed by a single shot to the head on Oct. 20.
The suspect charged in the murder, Tyrone Howard, is due to appear in court on Tuesday, the same day mourners will gather at a church viewing in the city's borough of Queens to pay respects to Holder.
Holder's funeral is expected to draw thousands of police officers. Afterwards, his body will be flown to his native Guyana for burial.
City officials have expressed concern that Howard, who had a history of prior arrests and convictions for drug dealing, had been allowed to remain on the streets through a drug diversion program that offered treatment as an alternative to incarceration.
On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed changes to state law that he said would help keep dangerous criminals behind bars.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Toni Reinhold)