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Opinion: Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance Expresses Outrage at NYPD Murders

The President of Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Pasadena sends letter of support to Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez

Published on Friday, December 26, 2014 | 9:59 am

We members of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and supporting clergy leaders in the Pasadena area feel compelled to express our outrage at the murder of two New York City officers by Ismaaiyl Brinsley on December 20, apparently when they were relaxing in their patrol car during their lunch break. In social media posts shortly before his act of violence, this man tried to justify his actions by referring to the recent incidents in Ferguson MO and New York City in which African-American men died as a result of what many perceive as overreaction by police officers. We totally reject that any connection can be made between the two. It is clear from his text messages that the killer was really acting out of his own sense of profound personal failure, which had led him to shoot his former girlfriend a few hours earlier. It seems that he had been mentally ill and suicidal for some time.

Among the messages sent by Brinsley that day was this: “I’d rather die a gangster than go to sleep a coward.” The violent choice he made guaranteed that he would not be seen as a “gangster,” because this confused and pathetic man seems to have acted entirely alone. At the same time, his attack on the two officers, who were surprised and virtually defenseless, made it clear that he was indeed a coward.

Brinsley seemed to believe he was standing up for the young men in Ferguson and New York City who were targeted unfairly because of the color of their skin. But as NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton pointed out, his two victims were “targeted for their uniform.” To complete the irony of Brinsley’s tragic choice, his two victims were both from racial minority groups.

We believe in the right and responsibility of people in the community to speak out when they think police actions are unfair, arbitrary or unnecessarily forceful, but we do not condone disrespect for the law or law officers that may manifest itself in violence or destruction of property.

Finally, we feel we must express our sincere empathy and sorrow, on behalf of ourselves and our communities, to the wife of Officer Wenjian Liu and the wife and sons of Officer Rafael Ramos. We are praying that God will help fill the empty places in their lives with his love. We hope and pray that families of officers in our own Pasadena Police Department will never have to face such an awful experience.

We are also praying that all Americans will be reminded that violence is self defeating and only leads to more violence. The Bible teaches: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:20-21). This non-violence may be the hardest way to react, but we believe it has the most potential for creating positive change.

We look forward to continuing to work together with you to make our City a place where mutual respect and neighborly support are always seen as “The Pasadena Way.”

Rev. John B. Bledsoe
Pastor of Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church
President of Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Pasadena

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