ALL TYKEEM LAW was doing was riding his bike through his South Philadelphia neighborhood on July 14.

For that, he was shot and killed, according to police, by Charles T. Meyers, in a case that has sparked tensions and has law enforcement on the defensive.

Tykeem's funeral yesterday at the New Hope Temple Baptist Church, on 12th Street near Fitzwater in South Philadelphia, was attended by friends and family members, as well as strangers. Many talked about their emptiness now that the 14-year-old boy is gone, and what they see as ineffectual law enforcement.

"He lived around my grandmom's way, and we used to go to parties and all that," said a somber Rufus Oliver, 16, who said that Tykeem was a funny, laid-back guy, quiet and unassuming.

"I was just with him the night before at a party, and then [friends] were telling me he got shot, and then he was dead.

"It shouldn't have been him, because he was a cool dude," Rufus continued, shaking his head. "He shouldn't be dead."

Police said Tykeem, who was African-American, and a few buddies were pedaling along Federal Street in South Philly when Meyers, who is white, drove up behind them. Apparently upset that Tykeem and his friends didn't move out of the way fast enough, Meyers produced a handgun, police said, then reached over the passenger's seat and shot Tykeem once in the chest.

The boy staggered before collapsing in the 900 block of Federal Street.

Some at the funeral said they believe that race was the aggravating factor in the shooting.

"As I told the police commissioner to his face, and as I told the family to their face, we will not let this die," declared Black Panther minister King Samir Shabazz.

"Three of them are in the car, two are let go, and a black man is laying dead behind me now.

"So we are out here fighting for justice and pushing and promoting that [the shooter] and the other two really need the death penalty. That's the only way I'd feel justified for Tykeem Law and his mother."

Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson briefly attended the services for Tykeem, and hoped his appearance would show how supportive he and the Police Department are.

"I go to a lot of the funerals, especially when you have innocent children who have done absolutely nothing except being on the street that particular day, and I try to show up out of respect for the family, give them my condolences that the Police Department and myself support them, and supports their child," Johnson said.

"He did nothing wrong that day except ride his bike, and I think law enforcement has to recognize the people who are out there on a daily basis, trying to live."

J. Whyatt Mondesire, head of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, was among the hundreds of mourners who inched slowly down the center aisle of the church toward Tykeem's casket.

As he approached the casket hat in hand, he removed his sunglasses, then stood for a moment, shook his head sadly, and maneuvered his way out of the packed sanctuary.

"That could be my son," he said. "I just moved my son into college, and this family is burying their son."

He recalled the 2004 slaying of Faheem Thomas-Childs, the 9-year-old who was gunned down in front of his elementary school in North Philadelphia.

Mondesire charged members of clergy, politicians and the community to act against what he called "a societal meltdown."

Outside the church, tear-streaked faces were replaced with looks of resignation, something not lost on Mothers in Charge representative Tonya M. Waller.

"Another death has taken place, and we are learning that it not only takes a village to love a child, but it takes one to bring the love back," Waller said.

Melvin Figueroa, the father of LaToyia Figueroa, also attended to offer support to the grieving family, having gone through a similar tragedy.

LaToyia, 24, who was pregnant, was slain by her boyfriend, Stephen Poaches.

"This is real hard," said Figueroa, who noted the absence of Mayor Street and City Council members, "and it breaks my heart." *