Friday, December 26, 2014

Do Black Lives Really Matter In Peoria?

Then what do we say against the #1 killer of Black Lives in this country?

I need about 20 pastors from various churches to stand with me on this issue in preparation for a community event. If you would avail yourself, please contact my office by email at Thank you. 


Sunday, December 14, 2014

National Solidarity Sunday

On Sunday 12-14-14 New Bethel COGIC along with thousands of other churches and houses of worship all across America, participated further in the national movement to facilitate change for countless families calling for a revamping of the criminal justice system and community policing.  

The critic asserts that Blacks have run-ins with the law and are in jail because they commit more crimes, but nearly every study done on the issues creates totally different picture than those that appear in the news. Not only is a Black man more likely to die at the hands of police or a law enforcement official, (as of this writing there have been 5 high profile Black homicides at the hands of the police in 5 months) but once sentenced, Blacks are more likely to receive a higher and more lengthy sentence than their White counterparts. Blacks are also more likely to be engaged and stopped by the police during the normal course of life and living based on "suspicious" activity. 

The fact is that both Blacks and Whites commit crimes at similar rates, nearly 6.4%. Yet the prison population explodes with Black persons and persons of color at disproportionately high rates. Combine that with the seeming reversal of 4th Amendment rights and high unemployment and poverty rates within the Black community, then there is no wonder why we have a dangerous combination of frustration and unrest, which leads to a strained relationship between the police and the community. 

Below is a 7 point agenda developed by myself, that a group of associates and I will be promoting along with other items and issues in the coming days and on into the new year. We believe that these issues are fundamental to the process of change which must occur in our city, Peoria, and is inclusive of everyone in the community and not just the poor and minority. In our opinion, these issues have an importance for citizens on Grandview Drive as equally as they have importance for citizens living on Howett St.  You'll be hearing more about these agenda items in coming days and we will add to them as citizens speak up and out on the issues. 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Black Lives Matter...Most Of The Time

The recent excuses given to not indict individuals trusted to protect the public has created a firestorm of controversy in the United States. The Presiding Bishop of the Church Of God In Christ, Bishop Charles E. Blake, calls on the COGIC community along with all believers to send a strong message of solidarity Sunday Dec. 14th that Black Lives Matter! (I will save my continued and ongoing commendation to the church to prove the same in a future writing thus the "Most Of The Time" appellation in the title)

New Bethel COGIC, The Dunamis Word and entities in which I, Pastor Harvey Burnett, have association or oversight of, also gladly join in with our national church organization to send a message around the country that we believe that BLACK LIVES MATTER!

[Please join New Bethel COGIC at 824 N. Duryea The Romeo B Garrett Ctr. on the campus of Bradley University at 9:00AM Sunday Dec. 14th. Email for more details at]

Pastor Harvey Burnett, New Bethel COGIC, The Dunamis Word & Related Entities Also Believe:

The quality and current condition of Black Lives matter as well. 
Therefore, we call upon business and social and political leaders to help create and develop sustainable economic opportunities whereby Black and poor minorities can be and become gainfully employed and a relevant part of the development of their communities.

The quality of communication, between authority and the community, matters, and must be enhanced:

Therefore, we call on the police and other entities entrusted with the preservation of the public trust to create methods of communication and dialogue that are in the best interest of the entire community and that safeguard all citizens. We commend both citizens and authorities to be held accountable to following those established guidelines and standards, quickly fixing and redressing issues that arise.  

The tactics of authorities must be improved and developed in accord with the community:
We call on law enforcement at all levels to work with the community and community groups in developing strategies and tactics that best serve the public, fight crime and be of a benefit to all citizens.

We Believe That The Local Process Of Police Policing Themselves And The Use Of The Local Prosecutor Or States Attorney In The Cases Of Police Killing Is Ineffective And Ask For A Complete Overhaul In The Process Which Includes An Automatic Independent Review Of Each Occurrence In Which A Citizen Is Killed By A Law Enforcement Official. 
All around the country, in events such as those that took the life of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the public relies on the local States Attorney's office for Grand Jury assembly and due process. The States Attorney's office however is placed in an immediate position of conflict of interest because that office regularly works with police in order to produce convictions against criminals. We believe that process should be changed immediately simply based on the "appearance" of conflict. We believe that legal review should be an "at arms length" process and regulated independent review appears to be the best way to create and maintain that type of relationship.  

We believe that the community policing strategy of "broken windows" is a tragedy and must be done away with.
We believe the the theory of "broken windows" leads to tragic incidents and standoffs between police and citizens. We believe that this failed theory has contributed to the mishandling of both innocent citizens and citizens such as Eric Garner allegedly engaged in certain low level  crime or criminal activities. We believe that the "broken windows" strategy is a racist strategy at root and only leads to racial profiling.

We believe the courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, should backtrack historical decisions and reaffirm 4th Amendment protections for ALL citizens.
The historically wild and fanciful interpretation of the courts at the recommendation of law enforcement has eroded American citizens 4th Amendments rights. A violation of 4th Amendment protections has led to excessive "stop and frisk" policies reinforcing practices of racial profiling that we see in departments and communities that embrace such theory. This must STOP! 

Good and exceptional officers should be hailed for their values, efforts and commitments to their communities.
We believe that police departments nationwide are filled with good police who respect and serve the public. We commend those good officers and leaders to stand forward, stand up, and reclaim their departments from associates who may have questionable tactics, methods and philosophies.

From the parents of a police officer:

We are so disheartened with some of the bad people in law enforcement because they are making it really hard for the good cops, as our son is here in the Orlando area. People are getting so afraid of anyone in a law enforcement uniform that it's making it very difficult for the honest cops out there doing the right thing and making a positive impact in the community in which they serve. It is so very important for ALL of us that when GOOD and HONEST law enforcement gets on the scene of an emergent situation, that they are able to get control of the situation or else a lot of lives can be at stake. If people have a preconceived thought that ALL cops are "crooked cops" this will add more chaos at the scene because of this preconceived way of thinking. All of us can potentially suffer when we ourselves may really need to call "911" because we may be in a life threatening situation where if law enforcement isn't able to get control, our life or our loved ones lives may be at stake. It truly is an unfortunate and scary situation that our nation is in right now because of the bad cops out there.

From: Concerned Parents Of A "GOOD" Cop,
Rodney and Rhonda Furness"
God bless the Furness family and may the protection and the guidance of the Lord be upon them, their son and his family as he serves both God and the community in his profession.