During the past few months, there have been numerous incidents— some tragic—where police officers were accused of brutality and abuse of power against African Americans, including Ferguson, South Carolina and New York being the most well known. Some of the incidents were caught on video. There are nearly 780,000 sworn officers in the United States protecting and serving 319 million Americans. Police officers have a very difficult and stressful job, but that is no excuse to use excessive force. However, we must take into account what these officers go through and understand that all police officers aren't bad.
I have been in situations where I could have easily gotten into confrontations with police officers. Years ago, I regularly worked with local and state police officers in major cities throughout the U.S. I can tell you first hand that there are some police officers that are prejudiced or egotistical, and some that have their own agendas. I remember arriving in Texas to meet and work with local police there. When I reached out to shake one of the officer's hands, he refused! Later during that same trip, I was almost arrested because the same police officer who wouldn't shake my hand, failed to tell a group of his fellow officers who I was as I approached them.
On another trip to California, a police officer stood two feet in front of me and stared me down while I waited to meet with the Deputy Police Chief. I had never met this officer before, nor did I do anything to him to warrant the stare he was giving me. In both Texas and California, I was the only African American in the group; my co-workers were not subjected to the same treatment. In both cases, I had no choice but to work through whatever issues those police officers had with me. I did not respond to their behavior towards me, and worked more closely with the officers who reached out to me than the ones who didn't. In the end, we successfully finished our work in both cities, and I made some new friends in law enforcement. more >>
As the rioting, looting and burning of homes and businesses that erupted earlier this week threatened to overshadow the weeks-long peaceful protests that have been ongoing in Baltimore, the word "thug" began rolling off of lips and popping up on social media accounts, including on those belonging to some Christians shocked by the violent scenes playing out on TV networks like CNN. However, one Baltimore pastor, recalling the Apostle Paul's transition from the persecutor Saul, warned against simply condemning "rioters as unsalvageable thugs."
"Resist the temptation to condemn rioters as unsalvageable thugs and instead pray that God would transform these Sauls into Pauls," Dan Hyun, lead pastor at The Village Church in Baltimore, tweeted just after midnight on Tuesday.
Hyun added the hashtag "#MyStory" at the end of his tweet, suggesting that his testimony bears semblance to the radical conversion of Paul, who, before changing his name, terrorized and imprisoned Christians in the Roman Empire. The devout Jew, who the Bible says was "breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord," experienced a vision of Jesus and eventually became a believer himself. The Apostle Paul remains one of Christianity's most influential leaders and the New Testament's most prolific author. more >>
In a move being described as both swift and unusually surprising, Baltimore's newly elected State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday that the death of Freddie Gray, who died on April 19 after being injured while in police custody, had been ruled a "homicide" and six police officers involved in his "unlawful arrest" had been criminally charged and warrants have been issued for their arrests.
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45, who was the driver of a police van that carried Gray through the streets of Baltimore, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two vehicular manslaughter charges and misconduct in office, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Officer William Porter, 25, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. Lt. Brian Rice, 41, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. Sgt. Alicia White, 30, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. Officer Edward Nero, 29, was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office. more >>
GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has accused President Barack Obama of inflaming racial tensions and dividing America in the wake of the Baltimore riots. Cruz also spoke out against those who "vilify" police officers.
"President Obama, when he was elected, he could have been a unifying leader," Cruz said in a session hosted by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He said that instead, Obama "has made decisions that I think have inflamed racial tensions, that have divided us rather than bringing us tougher."
Riots and looting broke out in Baltimore Monday following the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died last month from a spinal injury while in the custody of Baltimore police. more >>
Commenting on the devastating violence that took place on Monday in Baltimore, outspoken Christian professional football player Benjamin Watson explained that the pain, anger and tension that the city and its residents are experiencing can only be healed through the power of Christ.
The 34-year-old 11-season NFL tight end, who plays for the New Orleans Saints, is a frequent commentator on current events and has never been afraid to let his Christian convictions be heard. On Tuesday, Watson took to Facebook to voice his thoughts on the rioting, looting, injuring of cops, destroying of police cars, and homes and businesses that took place in Baltimore after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who suffered a spinal injury while in Baltimore police custody.
Watson noted that Baltimore is not the first city to go through a violent uprising over police negligence, and likely won't be the last. He further asserted that the problems Baltimore faces right now are shared by the nation as a whole. more >>
ORLANDO, Fla. — Megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, charged Wednesday that it's corporations and not elected officials that represent "the greatest hope" in effecting change and development in underserved communities across America. He said, however, that they need to "add a moral component to money" to make it happen.
"We need corporations to add a moral component to money," said Jakes, to a group of pastors and Christian leaders at the Reconciled Church Summit on Wednesday. The movement was launched in response to national protests against the killings by police of black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York, by Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, televangelist James Robison, and Jakes in January.
"Starbucks is trying to do it. … If we can tie morality to money, to a purpose, to resources, we can really begin to change things. I don't really believe that the greatest hope is in the elected officials. I believe it is in the corporations and the business opportunities coming together," he continued. more >>