Police Brutality, Riots

News: Commentary
by Jesse Romero  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 4, 2020   

Retired LA deputy sheriff reflects

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Retired Catholic cop and evangelist Jesse Romero is analyzing the arrest of George Floyd and the ensuing riots from a Christian perspective seasoned with common sense and years of experience in law enforcement.

Jesse Romero

Before we get into the arrest and death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, let me give an overview of "law enforcement" as God sees it. What does God think about law enforcement officers?

Law enforcement is a God-ordained profession. God loves cops. It is a God-ordained vocation.

Matthew 5: 6, 9, 10 reads, "Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness ... . Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake ... ."

That's what all police officers and deputy sheriffs are called by the state — "peace officers" — because they are meant to protect us from "domestic enemies" while the military is called to protect us from "foreign enemies."

God wants you to defend yourself and to defend others. That's why God has given law enforcement and the military the authority to use force against those who violate the law.

Romans 13:1–5 reads:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath, but also for the sake of conscience.

Self-defense is part of Catholic teaching and clearly stated in paragraph 2263 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Catechism). We are allowed as Catholics to use the proportionate force necessary to overcome the unjust aggression of another person.

When a law enforcement officer or one serving in the military is a person of faith, it makes the job a little easier because it brings "peace of soul." A police officer of faith knows that God is always present, even when the officer is riding alone in a patrol car. Police officers and deputy sheriffs run courageously into danger when everyone else is running away from danger.

Based on Joshua 1:9 police officers profess, "I will be strong and courageous. I will not be terrified, or discouraged; for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go."

George Floyd and Police Procedure

Here are my reflections on the death of George Floyd (may he rest in peace) subsequent to his arrest by the former Minneapolis police officer who has been arrested and is now charged with murder and manslaughter. Former officer Derek Chauvin now faces a second-degree murder charge, on top of original second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder charges after a bystander's video circulated that showed Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes before Floyd died.

Activists claim it's another example of systemic racism in law enforcement. Floyd's death sparked protests in cities across the nation beginning just hours after his arrest and death.

Because law enforcement in a constitutional republic like ours is reactionary, former officer Chauvin was responding to a call for service and reacting to a negative contact with Floyd. When you're placing someone under arrest, its usually not pleasant for the officer or the suspect.

I have not seen what precipitated Floyd's arrest. I can only comment on what the video shows. Floyd was arrested and on his stomach, so far no problem. The problem lies with Chauvin having his knee on the side of Floyd's neck.

Derek Chauvin on George Floyd

I have been trained in the 'use of force' with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. Once a suspect is handcuffed and no longer a threat, any excessive force would be against law enforcement policy. In point of fact, the neck is an area where law enforcement officers are specifically admonished and trained to never place an armbar across it unless your life is in danger.

Law enforcement use what's called "haptics." These are physical gestures used to reinforce a message. Guys do this all the time, e.g., sports teams show approval of each other by slapping each other on the behind, giving a high five or punching someone in the shoulder while giving them a positive message.

Officers use haptics also like telling a suspect (once handcuffed) "move over here" as you direct him physically by placing your hand on his shoulder or grabbing his wrist. There's no problem with that. However, once someone is handcuffed, subdued and under control, then an officer must stop using force or pain compliance.

An officer, therefore, is not justified putting his knee across the side of the neck of a handcuffed suspect. That excessive force was not justified and unnecessary. Pain compliance is used to handcuff a suspect, who is resisting, but once handcuffed, pain compliance ceases.

Justice Is Being Served

One definition of justice is "the administering of deserved punishment or reward." Former officer Derek Chauvin has been terminated and was arrested within 24 hours of the incident. In this case, therefore, I don't understand why Americans are protesting, looting and rioting against police and small-business owners.

Usually, an officer who is accused of excessive force or takes the life of a citizen is put on desk duty pending the investigation, but not in this case. The Minneapolis Police Department threw Chauvin under the bus like they never knew him. I have never witnessed the wheels of justice turn so quickly against an officer in this country accused of committing a crime while on duty as it has for Chauvin. Let's not forget, in this country, a defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Having said that, justice is being served in this case:

  • Chauvin has been fired after 19 years of serving Minneapolis as a police officer
  • His wife is filing for divorce and he'll lose his two houses
  • He'll most likely go to prison for many years, where he'll more than likely be killed because he was a police officer
  • He will also be treated in prison as a person with leprosy by both inmates and prison guards

My hope is that Derek Chauvin, now that he has lost everything, in the quiet solitude of his jail cell, examines his life and does some deep soul searching as to the meaning and purpose of life. I hope he opens his heart to God and has a deep interior conversion and completely transforms his life and becomes a disciple of Christ so that, at the end of his earthly life, he goes to Heaven forgiven of all his sins and made a new creation in Christ.

If you die well, all will be well.

My hope is that George Floyd, as he was dying, made his peace with God and reconciled with Him. The Catechism in paragraph 847 teaches:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do His will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience, these too may achieve eternal salvation.

In short, everyone has had plenty of opportunities to turn to God in their hearts before they die.

Christ Calls Us Until the End

What St. Faustina teaches is that God continues calling the lost soul and reaching out to the lost soul with His grace, even to the very last moment of the person's life. In entry 1507 of her famous diary, she writes:

All grace flows from mercy, and the last hour abounds with mercy for us. Let no one doubt concerning the goodness of God; even if a person's sins were as dark as night, God's mercy is stronger than our misery. One thing alone is necessary — that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God's merciful grace, and then God will do the rest ... .

Racial riots following Floyd's death

All lives matter regardless of color, race, age, wealth, location, religion, etc. Nobody is saved by race; we are saved by grace (cf. Ephesians 2:8).

In 2 Peter 3:9 it reads: "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard 'delay,' but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

All Lives Matter

No one is more important than another in the eyes of God. That is why God sent his Son to die for our sins. Sinners like Derek Chauvin, George Floyd, you and I need the Savior.

John 3:16 reads, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

All lives matter to God, and He gives us chance after chance to repent and turn to Him. Because all lives matter to God, He sends people to warn of judgment day coming. God is a loving God, but He is also a just God. He will punish sin and punish the ones that reject His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many people reject and don't accept the message that God's judgment is coming. One day we all will meet God. God doesn't want anyone to perish and go to Hell. If God doesn't want anyone to perish, why should we? We should make sure we bring as many people as we can to Heaven by telling them about our Savior Jesus Christ.

Black Lives Matter, White Lives Matter, Baby Lives Matter, Muslim Lives Matter, Jewish Lives Matter, Police Lives Matter and the list can go on and on. Everyone's life matters. Why do all lives matter to God? Like it says in 2 Peter 3:9 above, God doesn't want anyone to perish and go to Hell. God wants us to repent and accept His Son before we die. If before we die we don't repent and don't accept Jesus Christ, we do so at our own peril.

We read in 1 John 5:12, "He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life."

Luciferian Anarchy

And to the "anarchists," they are simply opportunists who follow their disordered passions because what's in their heart is evil. They're Luciferian. The Luciferian spirit tells men: "I deserve, it's owed to me."

But Jeremiah 17:9 warns, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?"

An anarchist is defined as "a person who promotes disorder or excites revolt against any established rule, law or custom." Demons are attracted to "disorder," promote "rebellion" and "revolt" against lawful authority.

We read in 1 John 3:10, "By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the Devil: Whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother."

All Are Called

Repenting of our sin, therefore, is not just saying "I am sorry," but involves a 180-degree turn or change in direction.

God doesn't look at people the way people look at people. God looks at the heart (cf. 1 Samuel 16:7). God doesn't see color! God loves us so intimately that He even bottles our tears (see Psalm 56:8) and knows the number of hairs on our head (see Luke 12:7 and Matthew 10:30).

What's keeping you from becoming a disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ? Today is the day of salvation! We are never promised tomorrow. We all have an eternal final destination. Every funeral reminds us of just how thin the veil is between this world and the next, between time and eternity, between the opportunity for conversion and the moment of judgment.

In the final analysis, eternity will only be winners and losers — Heaven or Hell. We choose our own destinies by how we live our lives. This is summed up best by St. Augustine, who concludes, "If you pray well, you will live well; if you live well, you will die well; and if you die well, all will be well."

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