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Praying the DOJ Report on Ferguson – A Great Litany of Lament

Praying the DOJ Report on Ferguson – A Great Litany of Lament

Mike Kinman, the dean of the Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, has read the Department of Justice report on the Ferguson Police Department.

As I spent time today reading the report of the Department of Justice on the Ferguson Police Department, it was clear to me that it is not just an indictment of one city, but of a nation broken by deep divisions of race, class and privilege. It is the story of one city but reflects the voices that are heard in cities throughout our nation.

It is, in fact, a record of the lament of people of color in this country who have been crying out for decades and even generations.

It is, in fact, a Great Litany of sin. A Great Litany of lament.

So that is what I have done with it. I have turned it into a Great Litany.

If you click here  you can download what I am calling “A Litany of Lament for the American Police and Court Systems … Based on the U.S. Department of Justice Report on the Ferguson Police Department.” 

It is long and arduous … just as the report is. There are 89 different laments based on the sin revealed in the report….

Read Kinman’s post in full.


Posted by John B. Chilton

Image: By Loavesofbread (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Bill Brockman

In the Chapel where I normally worship, the stained glass window by my seat contains the seal of the Diocese of St. Louis (the church is not in that diocese). I heard the story why once but it’s not important. Still, I feel some connection.

The Ferguson PD clearly had and still have major problems with the trust of the community. I have noticed in some other recent tragic incidents where police officers have had to shoot black suspects, the widespread trouble that descended on Ferguson did not occur. Even when questions were raised, the local officials – mayor, police chief, etc. – had sufficient moral authority that the local community could be reassured of justice being done in the end. Clearly, this was different and worse.

That said, I hope the prayers in the litany include Officer Darren Wilson. This young man apparently did nothing wrong and told the truth at every step of the investigation. Yet, he was accused and convicted in the public mind of a most vile crime – racist murder. I am sure anyone reading this will know that Attorney General Holder would have been glad to indict Officer Wilson had there been any reason to do so. In fact, he is completely exonerated. Except, his life has been turned upside down, he lost his career, he has had to leave his home and go into seclusion, and must fear for his life and the life of his family for years to come. Please pray for him as well.

Helen Kromm

I think you are mistaken on several number of issues. The first being Darren Wilson. The reality here is that we don’t know and never will know. Lack of prosecution doesn’t necessarily equate to innocence.

I think it’s also telling that Wilson arrived in Ferguson after being part of a police force that was forced to be completely disbanded due to racial prejudice. As more comes out regarding his background, and it will, I have to wonder what the ardent defenders of Wilson will have to say to us.

Using your standard for police misconduct, we could also say that Eric Garner’s chokehold death has also been exonerated. A grand jury absolved the cop of murder in this case as well. And of course, we all saw this murder on tape.

But where I truly disagree with you is in this statement:

“Even when questions were raised, the local officials – mayor, police chief, etc. – had sufficient moral authority that the local community could be reassured of justice being done in the end.”

If you believe Ferguson is an aberration, you are mistaken. And surely if you believe residents in many communities from one end of this land to the other view their municipal officials as being possessed with moral authority in abundance, you are sorely mistaken.

Jim Frodge

I think that by now we do in fact know about Darren Wilson. This matter was reviewed by a Grand Jury and a conclusion was reached that there was insufficient evidence to indict Darren Wilson. This was followed by a DOJ investigation that was released yesterday that went even farther. The Attorney General stated publicly that people who gave statements that Michael Brown was shot while trying to surrender lacked credibility. The Attorney General also stated publicly that physical and forensic evidence found at the scene supported Darren Wilson’s version of the events about this shooting. In other words based upon the evidence Darren Wilson told the truth. Finally a federal investigation concluded that there was no evidence of racial bias in the Michael Brown shooting.

In addition your assertion that Darren Wilson came from a police department that was disbanded because of “racial prejudice” is untrue. It is true that Darren Wilson worked briefly for a police department in Jennings, Missouri before coming to Ferguson. However the police department in Jennings was disbanded after state and federal investigations revealed that the police department misappropriated federal grant monies, not because of “racial prejudice”.

There is little doubt that a lot went wrong in Ferguson and I suspect that there are many there who share responsibility for the wrongs that happened there. The problems there appear to reach from the police department all the way to the court system and it is hard not to believe that a lot of people were complicit. A system designed to use citizens as an “ATM” as the Attorney General described it has no place I our society.

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