A Regional President’s Response to the Recent Shootings of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana

Once again, we all have witnessed another senseless inhumane shooting of two human beings — Jacob Blake who was shot seven times in the back by police in front of his children and Trayford Pellerin who was killed by policemen. Two Black human beings whose lives certainly matter to their families and should matter also to every decent God-fearing Christian regardless of denominational affiliation or racial ethnicity. I condemn these two atrocities in the strongest terms possible.

I ask the question: How long will this nightmare continue for people whose skin is Black or Brown, who are dying for no reason except that they were born with a different skin pigmentation? The blatant disregard for Black and Brown lives is a scourge and stain upon the fabric of America that claims to be great. I call for real police reform and laws that are just and fair for everyone and for swift and fair punishment for those who break the law, even when they wear blue uniforms with a badge on their chest. Too many people are dying at the hands of careless police who do not value the lives of Black and Brown people, as if their lives do not matter as much as the lives of others, because apparently and obviously, in some cases it appears that they are seen less than humans. Our Humanity and our Christianity demands that we speak for those who have no voice.

Our Humanity and our Christianity demands that we speak truth to power regardless of the consequences. Yesterday, they shot somebody’s son, somebody’s father, somebody’s nephew, somebody’s brother, somebody’s grandson. Tomorrow, it could be your son, your daughter, your father, or your brother.

While it is true, that there is a time for everything under the sun — a time to pray, a time to fast and a time to demonstrate, to march build up and tear down, but there is also a time to demand action — not to ask, but demand that action be taken to stop this senseless cold-blooded inhumane shootings and killings of Black and Brown people in America.

Yes, Black lives do matter and I say it unapologetically, for all lives do matter, but I emphasize Black lives matter because society seems to take the deaf ear when one says Black Lives Matter. If we do not say it, who will? It’s our sons and our daughters who are being shot disproportionately and placed in jail in this great country. Their lives matter to crying mothers and grieving fathers and they matter to weeping children.

We the People, Black, Brown, and White, who are called by His name, must speak out against any system and any organization whether it be secular, governmental, or religious that belittles and takes for granted the life of any human being. Every life is valuable in the eyes of God and deserves to be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their social or economic background. I therefore challenge every Bible-believing practicing Christian to forget about political ideals and cultural preferences and ask yourself the question: What side would Jesus be on? What would He say? What would He do? Would He dismiss the idea that Black lives matter or would He stand up for the marginalized, the poor, the immigrant, the disfranchised and the hurting? I boldly declare that it is time for justice and equality to be on the lip of every true believer but more importantly, that justice and equality be in the heart of every true believer.

As a religious leader and a Christian, I am obligated to speak truth in the face of injustice and senseless murders. As a people of truth, we should not and cannot afford to let evil go unchecked. Our voice should never be muted because we don't want to get involved for fear of causing undue attention toward ourselves and our church. To stand up for human right is the highest calling that a Christian can have. Let us continue to fight the good fight, march the good march, demonstrate the right way, vote the right vote, and serve our Creator with our whole heart. May all men know that we are Christians by the love and empathy that we show toward our fellow man whether they be Black, Brown, or White. They are valuable in the eyes of God and deserve equal treatment under the law, but more importantly under God.

So, let us march hand in hand, arm in arm, Black, White, Brown, for justice, for peace and for the high ideals that Jesus and Martin Luther King gave their lives for. Hatred is not an American problem; it is a problem of the human heart that only Jesus can fix.

Calvin L. Watkins, Sr.




Calvin L. Watkins, Sr. is president of the Southwest Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash


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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10690
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Hmmm. I think he was shot because he was resisting arrest, went for a knife in his car, and would not obey what the officers said, not because he was black.

The officer according to several analyses will not be convicted of wrong doing.

Did you know that something like 100 black children have been shot in Chicago since Jan.? Why no protests then?

Well, the police are called by a woman to a domestic dispute. The guy has a past. He resists arrest. What are the cops to do?

An Oakwook English teacher posted last month that black people are not safe. Just. Not. Safe.

You are safe. If you od not resist arrest, you will do just fine. Whites even give their children the talk: “Do as the police say, and you will be fine.” And you will.

As long as you are going to make these type of folk your martyrs, you will not be taken seriously. A sex offender? Resisting arrest? Find a real person shot for no reason. Then march. I will listen.


This is is, essentially, your founding, “Why aren’t you as upset about ‘black-on-black’ crime as your about police shootings?”

Black people understand that isn’t “a question”; a search for unknown information, or for clarity.

This is a piece of racist rhetoric. It’s an attempt to belittle the life-and-death concerns of non-white people by making fun of them. Making fun of Black people is something racists do often.

Of course, I’m not calling you a racist, @ajshep. I never would do such a thing.

Here’s the proof this is not “a question,” though it is framed as one:

The answer to @ajshep’s query is that, in all 100 of those cases, when a perpetrator is found, he will likely be tried and sent to prison. The End.

In fact, he will probably receive a harsher sentence than his white counterpart will receive for the same offense. (He will definitely receive a harsher sentence than if his white counterpart also shot and killed a Black person.)

But, in the case of the cop shooting, the police officer will likely say, “I was fearful for my life and safety,” then be reinstated to his position. No one will be penalized for the act of killing that unarmed Black person.

NOW, since that “question,” which you’ve raised every chance that you get, has been answered, you never have to ask it, or its variations, again, @ajshep. Agreed?

Now, Black people, watch: At the next police killing, of a Black person holding a coat hanger, watch @ajshep “ask” this, again, or voice some other version of it.

That is my proof this is not “a question,” though it is framed as one:

And how do I know this is so?

Because, I suspect that @ajshep is…


In the old days, police did not respond to domestic disturbances. A domestic disturbance was considered a private family matter. And the husband was considered at liberty to abuse his wife based on the unity theory of marriage and property theory of women. But with the changing of mores and the prevalence of guns in our society, we rightly regard domestic disturbances as serious matters that warrant police intervention.

The police acted appropriately in attempting to arrest Blake. There was an open arrest warrant that the 911 dispatcher mentioned to the police. The 911 dispatcher specifically mentioned Blake’s name in connection with that arrest warrant. And Blake was the reason for the 911 call, in that he allegedly took the complainant’s keys and refused to leave. The arrest warrant was for domestic disturbance crimes, including third degree felony sexual assault and misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct. These alleged crimes, because they are part of the rumble of tussle of an emotionally-fraught domestic disturbance, may not be serious. But arresting Blake was an appropriate thing to do.

However, the police erred in not subduing Blake with non-lethal force. Four police officers on the other side of the car, with the use of a taser, cannot subdue this guy? They should be disciplined for that.

As Blake walks away, he is not a threat. But as he opens the door of his car, he becomes a threat. The police do not know what is inside the car. There’s a strange confusion in the facts. The police seem to think that he is carrying a knife and tell him to drop the knife, but the video does not show him carrying a knife. There is a knife on the floorboard of his car. The video doesn’t show him reaching for anything, but the officer is tugging at Blake’s shirt and Blake is not responding appropriately.

Firing seven shots is extreme. Even if this were not a crime, I would fire the Barney Fife who did that. Was Blake on meth? Is that why the four police officers could not subdue him? Is that why the officer pumped seven bullets into Blake? I don’t know. That’s unwarranted speculation. But again, a police officer in reasonably good shape would have just thrown Blake onto the ground and handcuffed him. Blake should have never been shot. The subsequent rioting and deaths caused by a vigilante are serious consequences of what occurred.

Because of the complexities of racism, we cannot discount it as a factor. But I would not be protesting in the streets because of this incident.

This is just my opinion based on the facts at hand.


Domestic disturbances are known to be potentially most deadly to responding LEO’s.


Another reason to withdraw support from the storehouse as the storehouse is increasingly co-opted by the BLM movement. The rhetoric ramps up every year in February during Black History Month and every 2 and 4 years with the election cycle. I will not pay for the privilege of being fed a false narrative. The church in the wilderness will survive.


Hmm. Do I really want to get into ti with HA? I am torn. I really don’t, for it will never end. But at least it it not the “He said, HA said…”

Making fun? Not at all. It is a question of relevance and importance. If 100 kids are shot, for every sex offender, then it seems that to save more lives, more attention should be paid to the 100 kids then the one sex offender.

No. not agreed. Hee is research done on unarmed black men shot by white police in 2019 from the Washington Post Data base: There were 10 unarmed blacks shot by white police:

"Since 2015, The Washington Post has maintained a comprehensive database of fatal police shootings in this country. Last year, The Post logged a total of 1,004 killings.

Of the 802 shootings in which the race of the police officer and the suspect was noted, 371 of those killed were white, 236 were black. The vast majority of those killed were not, in fact, unarmed; the vast majority were armed. And African-American suspects were significantly more likely to have a deadly weapon than white suspects, yet more white suspects were killed.

Overall, there were a total of precisely 10 cases in the United States last year (2019), according to The Washington Post, in which unarmed African- Americans were fatally shot by the police. There were nine men and one woman.

Now, as we said, a lot is at stake. The country is at stake. So we want to take the time now to go through these case by case, into the specifics.

  1. The first was a man called Channara Pheap. He was killed by a Knoxville police officer called Dylan Williams. According to Williams, Pheap attacked him, choked him and then used a taser on him – the suspect on the police officer before the officer shot him. Five eyewitnesses corroborated the officer’s claim, and the officer was not charged.

  2. The second case concerns a man called Marcus McVeigh. He was by any description a career criminal from San Angelo, Texas. He had been convicted of aggravated assault, assault on a public servant and organized criminal activity.

At the time he was killed, he was wanted on drug dealing charges. The Texas State trooper pulled him over. McVeigh fled in his car, then he fled on foot into the woods. There he fought with the trooper and was shot and killed. The officer was not charged in that case.

  1. Marzua Scott assaulted a shop employee. When a female police officer arrived and ordered the suspect toward her car, he instead charged her and knocked her to the ground. At that point, she shot and killed him. The entire incident was caught on body camera. The officer was not charged.

  2. Ryan Twyman was being approached by two LA County deputies when he backed into one of them with his vehicle. The deputy was caught in the car door. He and his partner opened fire. The deputies were not charged in that case.

  3. Melvin Watkins of East Baton Rouge, La. shot by a deputy after he allegedly drove his car toward the deputy at high speed. The deputy was not charged.

  4. Isaiah Lewis, meanwhile, wasn’t just unarmed, he was completely naked. Williams broke into a house and then attacked a police officer. The police tased Williams, but he kept coming at them and attacking. The officer shot him. They were not charged.

  5. Atatiana Jefferson was shot by a Fort Worth deputy called Aaron Dean. A neighbor had called a non-emergency number after seeing Jefferson’s door open, thinking something might be wrong. Police arrived. Jefferson saw them approach from a window and was holding a gun at the time.

According to body camera footage, the officer shot Jefferson within seconds. That officer has been charged with homicide.

  1. Christopher Whitfield was shot and killed in a place called Ethel, La. He had robbed a gas station. Deputy Glenn Sims said his gun discharged accidentally while grappling with Whitfield. Sims, who is black himself, was not charged in that killing.

  2. Kevin Mason was shot by police during a multi-hour standoff. Well, Mason turned out not to have a gun. Mason claimed to have a gun, claimed to be armed and vowed to kill police with it. They believed him. Mason had been in a shootout with police years before.

  3. And finally, the tenth case concerns Gregory Griffin. He was shot during a car chase. An officer called Giovanni Crespo claimed he saw someone pointing a gun at him. Later, a gun was in fact found inside the vehicle, and yet Officer Crespo was charged anyway with aggravated manslaughter.

Those are the facts. That is the entire list from 2019, last year – 10 deaths. In five deaths, an officer was attacked just before the shooting occurred. That is not disputed.

One allegedly was an accident. That leaves a total of four deaths during a pursuit or in a standoff. So out of four, in two of those cases – and fully half – the officer was criminally charged. Is it possible that more of these officers should have been charged? Of course, it’s possible. Justice is not always served, that’s for sure.

But either way, this is a very small number in a country of 325 million people . This is not genocide. It’s not even close to genocide. It is laughable to suggest it is.

In fact, the number of police killings is dropping. In 2015, during Barack Obama’s presidency, 38 unarmed black Americans and 32 whites were slain by police. Overall totals have fallen since then, and they have fallen far more dramatically for African-American men.

Last year (2019) was the safest year for unarmed suspects since The Washington Post begin tracking police shootings. It was the safest year for both white and black suspects.

At the same time, this country remains a dangerous place for police officers. Forty-eight of them were murdered in 2019 according to FBI data. That’s more than the number of unarmed suspects killed of all races.

One final number for you, because it matters: In 2018, 7,407 African-Americans were murdered in the United States. If 2019 continues on a similar trajectory, – and we hope it doesn’t, but if it does – that would mean that for every unarmed African-American shot to death in the United States by police, more than 700 were murdered by someone else, usually by someone they know.

Again, those are the facts. They are not in dispute. Are African-Americans being “hunted” as Joy Reid recklessly claimed on MSNBC recently? Or something else happening?" End Report.

Since this was published, the Post reclassified 7 more cases. But it is still a small small minority.

My point is that white policemen are not shooting unarmed blacks. And even case was investigavneted, but only 2 were persecuted. Look at he facts above: 10 out of 800 or so? or even 17.

You see what you want to see, Harry.


The only reason I’m writing is because I see a serious danger to our church in falling for the same erroneous thinking so prevalent in the US today. Jacob Blake is a criminal, he had an active warrant for sexual assault, he resisted arrest, He disobeyed police orders, and HE brought the altercation into the car where his kids were. I don’t want to see him shot either, but if I were the offices I would not gamble my life that he isn’t going to pull a weapon out of the car. The Bible says the authorities hold no terror to those who do good. Yes I wish the taser had worked, or they had tackled him. But make no mistake about it…he made bad decision after bad decision and he made the conscience choice to fight officers and go in the car…would you ever act this way? Many in the church are defending him and condemning the police when this person was a harm to his own people…domestic violence? Where are those speaking up for the women he abused? Sexual assault? Where is #metoo? This was not an attempted murder and this person should not be held up as a martyr or victim! The I believe this attitude is dangerous because we cannot view sin the same way…looking for someone else to blame. If we make bad moral decision, we will get bad moral consequences! Just like Jacob Blake made bad decision and got bad consequences! This was not an injustice, there was no reason to get back in the car! Nothing good was going to happen by him being there and he has no one to blame but himself for the bad results.


Great stats! But many will not want to hear facts…they want the opposite to be true so many ignore facts. The media also only reports when it’s a black person being shot therefore it gives the impression that it only happens to blacks. Even if they just reported it proportionately, we would see how many whites are also shot and at very least give a full picture. The picture the media presents is VERY deceptive!


These facts have been attacked relentlessly. A fact check called them false because they only included shootings. The fact checkers even attacked the Post’s data base, which is a respected base. It was an amazing manipulation.

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I looked for a video. There were some that showed police restraint, but none that showed a white man shot. May be there are none, or that since it is not newsworthy, none are published. Unarmed white poeple are shot, for sure. Even more than unarmed blacks, but I could find no videos.

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Blackness and whiteness are only 400 to 500 years old. These races have been fabricated. Obama’s “white” mother and his “black” father have a “black” baby? This math is stupid and unhealthy and will find no remedy. It is a seed that can only bear fruit out of itself. It has been said that the straight testimony will cause a shaking. Laodecians are being spewed out because we want to save the world and Christ has not commanded us thus.

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In how many democracies shooting an unarmed man 7 times in the back is not a crime ? I believe none. 4 policemen who cannot arrest a single man using reasonable amount of force are a danger to the community. All 4 of them. Impunity and incompetence are indeed a lethal mix.
Alas, the suspect was black and this is when the peculiar american casuistry begins. Even in the pews. I am thankful for a response that is timely and in tune with the seriousness of the moment.
Tell me it was “human error”, not that he deserved it.
If our theology can accept this death as uneventful and be complacent about it then I believe we should just close the church and move on.
It’s as if the blood of christ is not good enough for this category of person, or it does not reach there. Just kill’em already.
It’s as if we are so much better than him, because our sins are not of That kind.
If that is so, who are we preaching to ? Who do we want to reach ? What is our message ? The already saved are just that. Already saved.
God, the great Cop of heaven did not shoot us dead, he gave us a Saviour, a judgment and a lifetime as we are so -all of us- undignified recalcitrants sinners.

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To simplify this incident to “shot in the back” is not to convey the totality of what was goin on. If a police office is trying to handcuff you because you have a warrant for sexual assault, then it is your obligation to let him handcuff you. If you fight with them on the ground, if you resist, if you walk away, and if you dig into a car where the police don’t know what you have hidden, if you disregard all their verbal warnings, if you ignore that they tried to tase you, then you have made a series of horrible decisions that lead to the police rightfully In fear of what you’ll do next. It would have taken literally a split second to turn around with a gun and kill one or several officers. I’m not white btw I’m brown and his actions were so dangerous and reckless that I would not find the police to have committed murder, as so many are saying. The reason he gave them his back is because he was reaching into a car which they warned him to to get into and bending over to look for something, no way a police should bet, after all the dangerous things Mr Blake did, that he wasn’t looking for a weapon.


[quote=“ajshep, post:2, topic:20701”]

“You are safe. If you od not resist arrest, you will do just fine…“Do as the police say, and you will be fine.” And you will…Find a real person shot for no reason.”

Rayshard Brooks politely did everything the police ordered him to for forty minutes, and even offered to walk home. It wasn’t till the officer, without warning Brooks that he was arresting him, reached behind Brooks’ back that there was a skirmish. Brooks didn’t know what was going to take place at that point.

Was Brooks safe for 40 minutes and then suddenly unsafe? Or was he unsafe the whole time? How can you feel safe if your skin is black and you are subjected to life-threatening situations like this?

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Not sure you will get an answer from Allen @ajshep . I am almost 100% sure that he doesn’t know the answer because he is not Black. Well, he may dare to answer it anyway, so…, after all, maybe you’ll get an answer… Will see!

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So, the officer reached behind Brooks back and there was a skirmish. So he resisted arrest. After 45 min he does not know what is going to take place?

Are the police perfect? No. Are they out to kill blacks? No. Is there genocide going on as one reporter said? No. Are blacks unsafe. No.

But do not resist arrest. That is what Brooks did. I am not justifying the acts of the officers. Maybe they should have let him go. They may be convicted. Blake’s shooter will not be.

These are all anecdotal. Look at he large stats. Blacks are not being hunted.


“Shot in the back” is when the narrative ended. I started from there.

We can’t look at where something ended without looking at where it started.

I have had students from underprivileged backgrounds. I take those into account when teaching them, and the backgrounds of all my students, bad and good.

Best to do that to understand the whole picture.

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