Bishops across the United States on April 20 and 21 responded to the guilty verdict for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in the trial for the murder of George Floyd.
Two chairs of committees at the US bishops’ conference (USCCB) issued a joint statement last Tuesday evening, after a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
“The death of George Floyd highlighted and amplified the deep need to see the sacredness in all people, but especially those who have been historically oppressed,” read a statement by Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chair of the USCCB’s anti-racism committee, and Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chair of the USCCB’s domestic justice and human development committee.
“Whatever the stage of human life, it not only matters, it is sacred,” the bishops said.
The trial of Derek Chauvin began on March 8. He was arrested on May 29, 2020, and charged with third-degree murder for the killing of George Floyd, a 46 year-old black man.
After an ambulance arrived and transported Mr Floyd to the hospital, he was declared dead. The killing sparked mass protests and riots around the United States against racism and police brutality.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St Paul-Minneapolis, joined by bishops of the five other Minnesota dioceses, called for civility and prayer on April 20 afternoon before the verdict was announced.
In the wake of the verdict April 20, the first African-American cardinal called for Catholics to fight racism without violence.
“As the Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us and the life example of the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. showed us, it is the virtue of charity, non-violence, prayer, and working together that moves us toward reconciliation and true healing from trauma we have experienced,” stated Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC last Wednesday.
“May we choose to respond with civility and respect for the dignity of all of our brothers and sisters, as we continue the work of rooting out all injustices and systemic racism in our society,” Cardinal Gregory stated.