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Pastor Claude King's Response to Police Killings

June 2020

To the Downers Grove First UMC Family,

I am deeply saddened and angered by the recent citizen killing of Ahmaud Arbery, and the police involved killings of Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, whose recent murder has sparked the weekend peaceful protests in approximately 100 cities across the country. These protests were also deeply marred by severe injuries and possible death of at least one police officer, the destruction of many small and large businesses, and widespread looting and rioting in many of those same cities.

We have witnessed an ever-growing number of incidences that used deadly force and violent actions recently in many of our nation’s police departments, against people of color, specifically Black African American people. The unnecessary confrontation and shooting of Ahmaud Arbery (age 25) while jogging in Georgia; and the police squad shooting of Breonna Taylor (age 26) in her home at night in Kentucky; and the choking death of George Floyd (age 46) in Minnesota are just a few of the mounting number of Black people who died unjustly at the hands of actual police officers or a former police falsely acting in that capacity.

An article from the Associated Press by Amy Forliti and Steve Karnowski on June 1, has discovered that George Floyd died of strangulation. “An autopsy commissioned for George Floyd’s family found that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression when a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck until he stopped breathing, ignoring his cries of distress, the family’s attorneys said Monday…The family’s autopsy was conducted by Michael Baden and Allecia Wilson. Baden is the former chief medical examiner of New York City.” The strangulation of George Floyd by the police officer who compressed George’s neck with his knee, even though he was fully restrained by two other police officers holding down his torso and legs, was wrong.

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