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Bishop Malooly decries death of George Floyd in Minnesota, implores protesters to remain peaceful

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A woman in Minneapolis expresses her anger and frustration May 28, 2020, at the site where George Floyd was pinned down May 25 by a police officer and who later died at a local hospital. (CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit)

The killing of George Floyd in Minnesota is an injustice that cannot be accepted, but violence and injury that have resulted in numerous demonstrations across the U.S. will not help, Bishop Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington said in a statement May 30.

Bishop Malooly.

A protest in Wilmington remained peaceful Saturday morning. A group demonstrated and made statements with a bullhorn at Rodney Square in downtown.

“I express my sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Floyd,” Bishop Malooly said. “I pray for the repose of Mr. Floyd’s soul, and that God will send comfort and consolation to his family.

“While I support those who seek justice through peaceful demonstrations, we must keep in mind what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us about non-violence,” the bishop said. “It is easy to lash out in anger when confronted by injustice, but the easy thing to do often is not the right thing to do.

“Please join me this Pentecost weekend in prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide us to lasting, peaceful solutions to the problems we face as a society. Racism, brutality, murder, violence, bigotry, and disenfranchisement are not Gospel values and must be condemned in the strongest terms. Let us proceed as brothers and sisters, beloved children of God.”

Protests in Minneapolis have turned to violent demonstrations and lasted several days, prompting Gov. Tim Walz to bring in the National Guard May 29. The protests sparked similar rioting in at least a dozen U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Phoenix, Denver, New York, Louisville, and Columbus, Ohio.

Floyd, 46, was arrested by police on suspicion of forgery. Once he was handcuffed, a white officer pinned him down on the street, putting his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes. A now widely circulated video shows Floyd repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” He appears to lose consciousness or die and was later declared dead at the hospital.

The next day, hundreds of people protested at the intersection where police officers subdued Floyd, demanding justice for him and the arrest of the four officers involved. The officers were fired May 26 and as of midday May 29, local prosecutors filed criminal charges against at least one of the now former officers: The one seen putting his knee on Floyd’s neck, identified as Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

(Catholic News Service contributed to this report).