Since the shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown—and lack of indictment of the officer, who is white—sparked massive protests in Ferguson, the news has featured a seemingly constant stream of headlines about black men and women who have been killed by police or died while in custody: Walter Scott, Akai Gurley, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Samuel DuBose and Sandra Bland—and most recently, Alton Sterling.
We recently spoke with Lisa Sharon Harper, Chief Church Engagement Officer and columnist at Sojourners and one of the authors of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith, about the string of police shootings, how our society can hold authority figures more responsible and how the evangelical church can help usher in change and racial reconciliation.
Do you think the problem of police violence has gotten worse recently, or do you think it’s something the media is just more tuned into?
Unfortunately, we don’t really know, because [we don’t have] good data. We do know that what is being revealed is horrific.
I think that the main thing I take from this is that police need to be more accountable.
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