Statement on Chauvin verdict
Minnesota Council of Churches issues statement on Chauvin verdict
In the minutes following the judges announcement of three jury-determined guilty verdicts for former police officer Derek Chauvin, a collective sigh of relief was felt as the weight of this case was lifted from the city of Minneapolis. It is as if we who live in Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota could take a full breath for the first time in almost a year. It was an unprecedented moment in the history of Minnesota for a White police officer to be convicted for the murder of a Black man. This was indeed a rare moment of a public, official expression that Black lives matter.
The Minnesota Council of Churches joins in the collective relief and celebration as we mark this historic moment in the cause of racial justice. We know that this is not the final act in our work for justice but rather merely a step in this journey. We continue to call on the faith community to respond through prayers, presence, and prophesy.
Let us remember to lift up in our thoughts and prayers the family of George Floyd. In their moments of anguish may they feel assured that we as a community will hold them in their grief and brokenness.
Let us remember in our celebration that as people of faith we must also hold our community in prayer and through our presence minister to those hurt and traumatized. We lift up a particular request for the witnesses to George Floyd’s murder, who throughout this trial have had to re-live the pain and trauma of that horrible day.
Let us remember there are yet the trials for three other former police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd and a former Brooklyn Center police officer who killed Daunte Wright. And the family of Daunte Wright and the community that surrounds him still need our prayers and presence.
There is an impulse in moments like these to believe that the legal system works. The collective outcry from Black and Brown people in Minnesota for decades has been that the legal system does not work. So let us shout loudly as prophets joining this outcry and remain steadfast in our resolve to see a full transformation of law enforcement. We welcome an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department’s practices and structures by the United States Department of Justice. We ask for the US Congress and the Minnesota State Legislature to pass bills to reform policing. We invite residents in all Minnesota municipalities to reimagine public safety in their towns and cities.
We know that this verdict is not in any sense a restoration, but may it be a first step toward healing. As the prophet Isaiah declared, “It is a day acceptable to God …to loose the bonds of injustice” (58:5, 6).
Representing 27 member judicatories and about 1,000,000 Christians, the Minnesota Council of Churches’ mission is to manifest unity in the church and to build the common good in the world. The Minnesota Council of Churches programs include Refugee Services, Respectful ConversationsTM, Racial Justice, Advocacy, Interfaith Relationships and the Minnesota Church Center. For more information, visit www.mnchurches.org