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WASHINGTON – After the deaths of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith L. Scott in Charlotte in police-involved shootings, and the subsequent death of demonstrator Justin Carr in Charlotte, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:
The deaths of Terence Crutcher and Keith Scott, shot by police officers in Tulsa and Charlotte, and Justin Carr, killed while demonstrating for justice, tear at our hearts. The deaths of black Americans during interactions with law enforcement is a pattern that repeats itself with tragic frequency. We refuse to become numb to the pain and shock of these lives taken.
We are in the Hebrew month of Elul, a season of reflection before Rosh Hashanah. As we engage in Cheshbon Ha-nefesh – an accounting of our souls – we hold ourselves and our community accountable to end the ongoing systems of racism that plague us.
This afternoon, while we welcome Shabbat, we find it difficult to rest while so many Americans fear violence at the hands of those sworn to protect them. Of course we are grateful to law enforcement officers who risk their lives to protect us all. We specifically applaud authorities for swiftly bringing charges in Tulsa. We urge officials in Charlotte to strongly consider releasing the video of Keith Scott’s death to help reestablish transparency and trust in this investigation and between law enforcement and the community.
We pray for the families of those who have been killed, and we pray for unity in the communities that are in turmoil. But we also know that peace will not be restored until justice is reached, for the most recent shooting victims and in a criminal justice system that perpetuates racial inequity in our society.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more