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Would Jesus Call the Police?

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Last Tuesday night, someone called the police and reported a homeless man with a dog harassing people in Venice Beach. A short time after police arrived, one of the responding officers shot unarmed Brendon Glenn dead. In the understatement of the year, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck described the shooting as “concerning.” I would use the word “concerning” to describe a power outage. When talking about the shooting death of an unarmed man, the word “murder” seems much more appropriate.

 

The murder of Brendon Glenn is part of a national outbreak of police brutality. With each of these shootings, we are given more and more evidence that you simply can’t trust the police not to kill someone. From Dallas to Aimes to Baltimore to North Charleston to Albuquerque to New York and everywhere in between, the stories of unrestrained violence are endless. We here the same excuses over and over… “He went for my gun.” “I feared for my life.” “I didn’t have any other options.” We now have enough evidence to know that these excuses were and are often bullshit. Throughout the country, officers are largely shooting at will. The truth is stark… When you call the police, you don’t know if you are calling help or an executioner.

 

Can you imagine how the person who alerted the police to Brendon Glenn feels? They thought they were helping their community and the police made them an accessory to murder. When police have such ready access to lethal force, I think that such a catastrophic result is always possible. With such ambiguity, I no longer believe that Jesus would call the police.

 

Amen.

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