CEO comments at Tekle Sundberg press conference
Remarks about the Police Killing of Tekle Sundberg
Rev. Dr. Curtiss DeYoung, CEO
Minnesota Council of Churches
Today I join the call for justice for Tekle Sundberg. I join first as a close and long term friend of the Sundberg family. My family and the Sundbergs have been a part of each other’s lives for thirty years. We watched Tekle grow up. Tekle was often sitting near us at church or at our house in his teens earning some cash for doing yard work.
I also join this call for justice as a religious leader that has consistently appealed for the transformation of public safety in Minneapolis and the end to patterns of policing that lead to the death of Black citizens of Minneapolis. I joined other religious leaders crying out for justice for George Floyd, Amir Locke, and others.
And then Tekle was killed and the killing of Black people by Minneapolis police became even more personal.
Today I use the words of the prophet Isaiah to demand that Minneapolis police, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed” (1:17).
In the case of Tekle, doing right means an independent third party investigation, the release of all body camera footage, and answers to the question of why less lethal methods were not used for the full duration of the situation.
Seeking justice means transforming our system of public safety. It means implementing the recommendations of the Mayor’s Community Safety Work Group and welcoming consent decrees with MN Department of Human Rights and the US Department of Justice. We must transform the systems that continue to lead to the deaths of Black citizens like Tekle.
Defending the oppressed means police officers must demonstrate care for Minneapolis citizens they are sworn to protect by ensuring there are mental health co-responders on the scene and they must live out a public safety priority to protect the sanctity of all human lives when possible.
It is time for Minneapolis police to learn to do right, seek justice, and defend the oppressed. It is time for justice for Tekle.