“How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?” Habakkuk 1:2.
Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) and our member organizations are outraged at the tortuous murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer who mercilessly pressed his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck as Floyd lay handcuffed on the ground pleading for his life, while other officers looked on -- callously ignoring the pleas of bystanders begging for Floyd's life. Floyd’s murder represents a public lynching that traumatized not just Floyd as he was dying, but Floyd’s family, the community and all who have witnessed this injustice either live or subsequently on video. Floyd's death is part of a pattern that has re-traumatized many of us in Greater Cleveland who still vividly remember the Tamir Rice and Brelo cases and, beyond Greater Cleveland, evokes the names of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Desmond Franklin and Christian Cooper.
Greater Cleveland Congregations, therefore, supports the Floyd family’s call for the prosecution of the officers involved to the fullest extent of the law. Furthermore, as GCC has worked with our local prosecutors to gain commitments to refer all lethal use-of-force cases by law enforcement to the state Attorney General's office, we call for the same in Minneapolis by joining local leaders in demanding that this case be referred to State Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Greater Cleveland Congregations further pledges to continue our ongoing work of criminal justice reform by pursuing working relationships with police departments, judiciary and prosecutors across Cuyahoga County. We further commit to working to address laws that fail to protect human life and allow lethal force as a means of policing. We will demand accountability, prosecutorial consistency and the examination of why policy misconduct persists.
Finally, Greater Cleveland Congregations expresses our deepest condolences to Mr. Floyd’s family, and our solidarity with the Minneapolis community, in the fight for justice.
Rev. Ronald Maxwell, Affinity Baptist Church Rev. John Lentz, Forest Hill Church Presbyterian
Rabbi Joshua Caruso, Fairmount Temple Rabbi Stephen Weiss, B'nai Jeshurun Congregation
Rev. James Quincy, Lee Road Baptist Church Dr. Louise McKinney, St. John AME
Rev. Richard Gibson, Elizabeth Baptist Church Keisha Krumm, Greater Cleveland Congregations