Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv


3 John‬ ‭1:11 ‭CEV

“Dear friend, don’t imitate the evil deeds of others, but follow the example of people who do kind deeds. They are God’s children, but those who are always doing evil have never seen God.”


On Tuesday evening, word got out that Deborah Danner, a 66 year old mentally challenged individual living in the Bronx, was shot and killed by a NYPD officer. She was wielding a pair of scissors which she reportedly switched for a baseball bat before being shot twice in the abdomen.


Local media reports that Police Commissioner James O’Neill said NYPD protocols for managing an emotionally disturbed person was not followed.  Mayor Bill De Blasio admitted that the officer involved had been trained in the appropriate protocols.


As we await the full account of the incident from the police and others involved in the investigation, there is an expectation that they will say something if they saw something. There is a good example of this in the NYPD initiated slogan, “If you see something, say something!” This initiative has resulted in terrorist attacks being thwarted, crimes being averted, and many perpetrators being apprehended. With the help of concerned New Yorkers who have embraced and made this slogan a part of their daily life, New York City has become one of the safest cities in the world. This is a good example for the world to follow.


In my role as a Clergy Liaison with the NYPD, I speak regularly with new and experienced police officers. I ask them to honestly look at what happens when a police officer engages in acts of misconduct and/or practices that are morally and ethically wrong. The consequences could be devastating to the community and can put the safety and lives of their fellow officers at risk. In order for our system of law enforcement to be effective, we must all, both civilian and police, work to set a good example, to be held to the same level of accountability.


Unfortunately, we already know that this incident was not a good example. Ms. Danner’s life has been taken, her family and her community are forever changed; the police officer who shot her and his family’s life will never be the same; and the relationship between police and community is again fractured. The entire community is responsible for upholding the rights of all individuals… being a good example!


Be Blessed!


Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen here or by phone at 626-226-1448. Be sure to friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at


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