Feb 16, 2015
Last month, Pastor J. Edgar Boyd of the First AME Church in Los Angeles compared police shootings to Ku Klux Klan lynchings. He told his church’s congregants during a service: “Today, lynchings still occur but in a different form. The Klansmen today do not raid in the night raids with robes on and hoods on. But what they do is put a blue uniform on and a gold badge and take a baton or a police weapon, and they come at the least time we expect them and they take the lives of our young black men and young brown men. They take their lives long before they’re able to learn what God has in store for them in life.”
The First AME Church is the oldest black church in Los Angeles. Top politicians and city officials of Los Angeles, like Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell show up at services at this church looking for political support from the black community.
After a video of the service surfaced early February, all these city politicians and police department heads in chorus decried Pastor Boyd’s comments. And Pastor Boyd issued an apology.
Too bad – because Pastor Boyd correctly assessed recent police killings of so many young black men, who posed no threat, as lynchings. All these politicians and police department heads adamantly defended these killings, and the courts let police officers involved in these killings go free with no punishment.
Pastor Boyd’s judgment about the police killings is shared, felt and agreed to by many people and above all by black people, who are at the receiving end of this collective violence.