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October 6, 2016

DJAN Statement on the Death of Keith Lamont Scott

As a body of justice-seeking women, men and youth who strive to embody faithfully and proclaim prophetically God's radical love for all of humanity as made known through Jesus Christ, the Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN) joins people of faith and goodwill in expressing sadness and outrage over the September 20, 2016 shooting death of Mr. Keith Lamont Scott by an officer of the Charlotte, North Carolina Police Department (CPD).

Our sentiments are rooted in the fact that once more, an African American man was executed on the street by an officer of the law under circumstances that seem at best questionable and at worst, unjust. While the CPD asserts that Mr. Scott was in possession of a handgun and that his shooting was justifiable, Mr. Scott's family maintains that the only object he carried at the time of his death was a book, and that his death constituted a wrongful act.

The CPD has indicated that it has videotape of Mr. Scott's horrific death, yet for days its chief has only allowed Mr. Scott's family to view it while steadfastly refusing to abide by the wishes of the Scott family and community leaders to make the tape available to the public. In solidarity with the Scott family and religious leaders of Charlotte, in the interest of justice, and with confidence it its previously affirmed Black Lives Matter stance, DJAN has called for the CPD to release the video to public.

We are now aware that the chief of police, in response to public pressure, has agreed to make the video of Mr. Scott's death available to the public, and we anxiously await its release. Given the conflicting accounts of the actions leading to Mr. Scott's death, public confidence in the integrity of the CPD can only occur when its leaders operate with transparency.

DJAN requests that Disciples and all people of faith pray for the grieving Scott family, asking that God's peace attend to his wife, children, and relatives. Additionally, we ask that prayers and ministries be crafted in ways that intentionally address the pain of Black communities in Charlotte, Tulsa, and across the nation where Black lives clearly do not matter with respect to the values, tactics and practices of law enforcement systems.

Although calm has been restored in Charlotte's downtown streets, we know there can be no true peace and no actual healing without police accountability and justice. Therefore, as people of faith, we must be willing to boldly abandon privilege-based social silence and indifference in order to use our God-given talents and abilities to build a community, a beloved community, that lives out the words of the prophet Amos, with justice rolling like water and righteousness like an ever flowing stream. Inasmuch as we affirm that all things are possible with God, we know that a beloved community is attainable. Let us commit to its establishment. Amen.

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