Mesa pastor addresses police brutality during sermon following Mesa police investigations – AZCentral

Mesa pastor addresses police brutality during sermon following Mesa police investigations – AZCentral

Andre Miller’s sermon was in response to last week’s outcry over the conduct of several Mesa police officers. Arizona Republic

The pastor who last week called attention to footage of Mesa police officers beating an unarmed man addressed police brutality from the pulpit Sunday, calling for advocacy and unity.

Pastor Andre Miller of Mesa’s New Beginnings Christian Church began his sermon at about 1 p.m., saying that all people are called to love one another as Jesus loved them.

“In our country today, we are so fractured on so many items,” Miller said. “We are fractured on so many issues … If we got rid of the mindset that it’s me versus you or us versus them, we could be in such a better place.”

Miller then moved to a passage in the book of Ephesians, which prompted his first reference to the outcry over the Mesa police footage.

“Because you are my neighbor, I’ve got to have concern for you,” he said. “When my neighbor gets beat up by the police, I’ve got to stand up and say, ‘That’s not okay.'”

Miller said God calls all people to love and care for one another, regardless of racial, ethnic or economic differences. He said he hopes this generation can resolve social injustices to create a better world, where “people aren’t separated by badges and uniforms…color and size.”

Toward the end of the sermon, he also spoke of the importance of representation in political leadership, saying he was considering running for mayor in Mesa.

Lei Sean Curtis, an associate pastor at the church, said Miller’s address was uplifting and appropriate given the recent police scandal. He said the purpose of Miller’s remarks was not to cause division or insinuate that all police officers are bad.

“It’s not to say all Caucasian cops are against all African Americans or all African Americans are against Caucasians,” Curtis said. “It’s a societal problem that we need to address.”

Curtis said that the church regularly addresses social issues, deviating from some pastors’ policies of leaving politics out of the pulpit.

“I think it all depends on how you frame the conversation,” Miller said in an interview after the sermon. “Many political issues are framed in race and they’re framed as ‘us versus them,’ and that’s not the way I convey a message. The message is: If there’s an issue, it affects all of humanity. All of us.”

Miller later praised Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista for working quickly to address the public’s concerns.