Catholic bishops in the United States said they are “broken-hearted, sickened and outraged to watch another video of an African-American man being killed before our very eyes”. Source: Crux.
“What’s more astounding is that this is happening within mere weeks of several other such occurrences. This is the latest wake-up call that needs to be answered by each of us in a spirit of determined conversion,” they said in a statement about the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
In recent weeks, Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old African-American man in Georgia, was fatally shot ,and three white men were arrested and are facing murder charges over his death. In March, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American woman, died at the hands of white police offers when they entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a throwaway political issue to be bandied about when convenient,” the bishops said. “It is a real and present danger that must be met head on.
“As members of the Church, we must stand for the more difficult right and just actions instead of the easy wrongs of indifference,” they said. “We cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy and justice.
“Indifference is not an option,” they emphasised and stated “unequivocally” that “racism is a life issue.”
The statement was issued by the chairmen of seven committees of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Mr Floyd, 46, was arrested by police on suspicion of forgery. Once he was handcuffed, a white officer pinned him down on the street, putting his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes. A now widely circulated video shows Mr Floyd repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” He appears to lose consciousness or die and was later declared dead at a hospital.
Protests in Minneapolis have turned to violent demonstrations and lasted several days, prompting Governor Tim Walz to bring in the National Guard on May 29. The protests sparked similar rioting in at least a dozen US cities, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, New York, Louisville, and Columbus, Ohio.