Open letter to the mayor and police commissioner of the city of New York

Rev. Dr. Ronald Wells | 7/24/2014, 3:27 p.m.
I usually keep my personal views private. However, today I am morally compelled to speak up as the senior pastor ...
NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton

I usually keep my personal views private. However, today I am morally compelled to speak up as the senior pastor of Union Congregational Church, a proud New York City Department of Education career educator and naval reserve chaplain. I am outraged and disappointed about the callous indifference to the life of the late Mr. Eric Garner as displayed by New York City police officers.

How could they? What was he guilty of doing? Being a Black male in Staten Island, who apparently was just breaking up a fight? Or allegedly selling cigarettes? Keep in mind that Garner was unarmed, and he told the police officers, “I can’t breath!” multiple times.

Maybe the truth will unfold. While you, Mr. Mayor, are the proud father of a Black male, keep in mind that far too many Black males in New York City have been killed by New York City police officers. What are you going to do about this tragic and fatal event? When you were elected, we were excited about your commitment to change New York City. I beg you to honor your commitment by forming an advisory task force to protect Black males and males of color.

This advisory task force should have you as the chair and compromise a wide array of clergy members (Islamic, Jewish,  Christian, Buddhist, to mention a few), as well as New York City educators, the police commissioner, the chancellor and Black males from all age groups.

I know that there will be an investigation into this incident, and this is of the utmost importance. Let me confess, I am fortunate to have a wife whose father is a retired NY/NJ Port Authority lieutenant and a brother who is a retired New York City Police Department sergeant.

My wife reminded me that there are two sides to every story, so I get it. However, the loss of one human life is too much, and we need to act now. Please, please, I beg you to own this issue and rise to this occasion!

Thank you for reading my concerns and for your willingness to form the advisory task force. Keep in mind that the world is watching us/you.

Breaking my silence on behalf of other Black males and males of color in New York City.


The Rev. Dr. Ronald Wells