L.A. Faith & Community Leaders Respond to Chauvin Verdict
Los Angeles faith and community leaders let out a collective sigh of relief and elation as twelve jurors found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last year.
“Today’s verdict is a powerful reminder that no one is above the law. A jury of Mr. Chauvin’s peers validated the life experience of all of us who attempt to survive our Blackness each and every day,” said L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell. “We know this verdict doesn’t ease the pain felt by those who continue to mourn George Floyd’s life and we know it will not erase the horrific video of his murder that sparked a global uprising to end police brutality and reimagine public safety. However, this is the only acceptable verdict for justice and healing. Black Lives Matter and this verdict sends an important message that law enforcement officers must be held accountable when they murder people in our communities.”
“I believe that this verdict is showing us that the judicial system can do the right thing and that it is possible that we can have justice for all,” said Pastor Michael J.T. Fisher of the Greater Zion Church Family.
In anticipation of the verdict, Pastor Shep Crawford of ECM Ministries had organized a large group of prominent and influential faith in joining forces to proactively inform and instruct the community in an effort to discourage harsh and harmful reaction to the possible outcome.
“I’m elated,” said Crawford of the verdict. “Yesterday, I was tensed. I had a headache last night and when the verdict came in, I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach and had to pull my car over to hear it. Then when I heard guilty three times—one for the father, one for the son and one for the Holy Ghost—I was very excited. But we need to work hard so we won’t be excited by a verdict like this. That it becomes normal for police to be held accountable. So, while that was a moment, this is a movement, and we have a lot of work to do.”
Geremy Dixon, senior pastor of the First Church of God Center of Hope, concurred.
“Obviously, we are far from rooting out the deep entrenchment of systemic racism in the American criminal justice system. However, this moment does breathe much needed wind into the sails of hope in communities of color. Today, as we released a collective sigh of relief, we exhaled only as a precursor to the drawing of breath so that we might with courage continue the fight.”
Said Bishop Kenneth Ulmer of the Faithful Central Bible Church, “Today the justice journey began anew in the slow but significant trek toward realization. Pushed by faith, justice began to roll; a long slow rolling journey down the hill of inequity to the valley of joy after receiving prophetic marching orders: “… roll down like waters” in the path of righteousness forging the way like an ever-flowing stream”. It is a day of hope in response to generational echoes down the corridors of time: “how long, Lord, how long?”
“It is a day of hope ordained and made by God before the foundation of the world.More mountains to climb, more battles to wage, more victories to be won. But today – let us rejoice in it.”
While citing the verdict as a victory for justice, accountability, and common sense, L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ heart remained heavy for the loved ones of George Floyd.
“Though his life was senselessly cut short, Mr. Floyd’s legacy lives on through our collective work and advocacy to reimagine policing across this country. So, while today’s verdict will not bring George Floyd back, my hope is that his family will know that he has forever changed this nation for the better.”