Washington, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, deplores the killing of the 3 officers, Montrell Jackson, Brad Garafola and Matthew Gerald in Baton Rouge. They were innocent of any crime that we know of. They deserve our respect and gratitude. On behalf of the National Black Church Initiative and its 34,000 churches, I offer all of the families our deepest sympathies and prayers, and to the men and women who truly protect and serve, who do not abuse their authority nor target African Americans, I salute them for their service. Yet again we run into another disturbed individual that may be suffering from PTSD and this is the result of producing a person of violence that only has one course, to use more violence. This is why the Church rejects wars.
We must find a way to resolve our differences and let it be very clear that there are some real deep differences that exist between law enforcement and the African American community, but it is wrong to kill anybody. Murder, according to scripture, is a sin whether the police are the perpetrators or not. We want to open a dialogue with law enforcement across this country on safe, nonviolent and preventive ways in which someone can be stopped by the police, ways that can help both police and potential perpetrators, whether someone has committed a violation or not, walk away with their lives still in their hands so they may return to their families and people that love them. We have solutions to these problems, I hope the general population will listen.
Rev. Anthony Evans, President of the National Black Church Initiative says, “Again I am deeply saddened for the loss of life of the men and women in blue, but I am saddened for all loss of life for the citizens as well. What Mr. Long did was morally reprehensible and wrong and it did not make us safe, it just made us more suspicious of each other and this should not be. The Church will do everything in its power to bring communities together.”