One on One with African American Pastor Raymont Johnson on the death of Tire Nichols
By David Thomas Global Human Rights Journalist
1. What do you feel contributed to the death of Tire Nichols, and is it apart of a bigger problem?
I believe one of the factors that contributed to his death was a culture of abuse and power. Leadership drives culture so management has to be looked at closely
2. How can police departments change so that these deaths within the African American community stop?
The main thing they can do is continue to train officers about their own implicit biases. These biases have been developed over many years in society and police officers are from the community. Their biases will follow them.
3. As a religious leader how do you feel other religious leaders should fight to change things when it comes to police brutality?
As a religious leader the most important thing we can do is educate those we have influence over by teaching the importance of modeling the love of God. Mark 13:30-31 (you can spell that out if you wish) that is where the answer lies. I personally don't subscribe to talking politics or social issues directly from the pulpit. If we can get people to do Gods word it will solve the problem.
4. The argument has been for inclusion of African American officers to reduce violence against African Americans, yet all of the officers involved were black, what are your thoughts?
As stated before the problem is sometimes white and black and a failure to understand their own biases or even racist tendencies. I believe it's more about a culture of power and authority and blacks can take on the same attitude toward other blacks or whites or any race if the leadership has allowed that to permeate the force. I take it back to leadership setting the tone. Even with good leadership these types of incidents will still happen but can be limited if there is culture of respect for all people.
Pastor Johnson is Pastor of Spirit of Faith Christian Church in Alliance, Ohio.