“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8 NRSV
April 20, 2021, Washington, DC – After expressing outrage at the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is relieved that there has been a conviction in the case of George Floyd’s murderer, former police officer Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis, MN.
This verdict, while welcomed, does not mean that our nation has turned a corner on the problem of police brutality. This decision was made based on multiple witnesses, recorded videos, and nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds of violent and inhumane treatment of Mr. Floyd even after all life was drained from his body.
It is clear that the problem of excessive police violence has not been solved. We continue to commend and support law enforcement agencies that model good community policing, and in the tradition of advocating for justice and peace and inspired by the prophet Isaiah to serve as “repairers of the breach,” we persist in our call for an overhaul of the justice system that brings about reconciliation and restoration.
“I was able to see with my own eyes that Derek Chauvin was guilty of killing George Floyd and so, too, did the members of the jury. I pray this verdict will help advance the cause of racial justice in our nation, but I know we still have a long way to go,” stated Jim Winkler, NCC President and General Secretary.
“I applaud the jury for a right decision in this case and I rejoice with Mr. Floyd’s family,” said Rev. Aundreia Alexander, Esq., NCC Associate General Secretary, Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace. “This case highlighted the systemic racism within the policing system throughout the nation. It is my hope and prayer that the nation will now be willing to take a serios look at reimagining a model of public safety that will focus on wholistic care for people and communities rather than policing the everyday activities of living while black in America.”
Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Founder and President, Grace and Race Ministries, Inc. and Chair of the NCC Racial Justice Advisory Committee shared, “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Those words not only apply to Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd, they also present a challenge to our justice system. This case is a mandate for truly seeing the racial inequities in the criminal justice system and the necessity of addressing police reform. Black people are still dying at the hands of those who took an oath to protect and serve. Let’s stay in the fight to improve police training, policies and practices, and provide hope that the killing will end. God will find that we are all guilty if we celebrate today and stop pressing for the needed systemic change.”
“I rejoice in a verdict that affirms that Black Lives Matter, but I temper my rejoicing with an awareness that George Floyd is still dead and his family will never have him back,” commented Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ and Chair of the NCC Governing Board. “I pray that George Floyd will be remembered as one whose death caused a reckoning long overdue, initiated a justice long denied, and spurred on a movement for racial equity that too many died waiting for.”
The NCC remains committed to end racism in all its forms in our nation.