Today, leaders of Metropolitan Community Churches called for the immediate action to stop the string of shootings of African Americans. The latest shootings of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday, September 20 and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on September 17, brought people to the streets for a week of demonstrations in Charlotte and officer Betty Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter in Tulsa.
“In a time of heightened mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color, it is time to stop the shooting!” said Global Moderator, Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. “We also call on the U.S. Congress to enact the ‘Preventing Tragedies Between Police and Communities Act of 2016’ that would go a long way to creating a safer environment for all citizens and for the police. This act fosters training of police in de-escalation techniques, in effectively using the lowest level of force possible for a safe response, and in dealing with people who have mental illnesses. It addresses some of the systemic issues of racism that pervade urban law enforcement.”
“In a country saturated with guns; where funding for community policing dried up as resources now go to fighting terrorism; and where racism still operates structurally and personally, Black lives in particular are held in the balance and atrocities proliferate,” said Dr. Wilson. “A white person with a gun is a patriot but a Black person with a gun is a threat.”
“Once again our nation’s cities are in crisis over the killing of African Americans by police. The world is watching as the country that touts the value of human rights is now infamous for what appear to be summary executions of Black people by local police,” said Dr. Wilson. “Those who blame people who are protesting by calling them violent, when the vast majority is not, perpetuate the ideology that people of color are to be feared and can be shot because their mere presence is perceived as a threat.”
“For decades, communities of color have cried out about the injustices at the hands of police,” said Dr. Wilson. “Only now, with the prevalence of video has the wider community begun to see what people of color experience day after day. These injustices are preventable, and must be addressed.”