LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The senior pastor of a prominent Los Angeles church has issued an apology after controversial comments during a sermon delivered weeks ago.
The apology by Pastor J. Edgar Boyd of the First AME Church may end weeks of tension over the remarks purportedly comparing law enforcement officers to the Ku Klux Klan.
Boyd last month told Sunday worshipers that things have changed since 1960 but not so much.
On Jan. 18, he had said in part:
“The Klansmen today do not raid in the night raids with robes on and hoods on. But what they do is put a blue uniform on and a gold badge and take a baton or a police weapon, and they come at the least time we expect them and they take the lives of our young black men and young brown men.”
After those remarks, the Los Angeles Police Protective League issued a statement saying they were “deeply disturbed and astonished” by the pastor’s comments. On Sunday, Mayor Eric Garcetti also responded, stating: “We cannot equate the white robe of the night rider with the blue uniform of the police officer, and we must not equate dark skin with dark intent.”
But in a new video posted on the church’s website, Boyd is seen apologizing to those who may have been offended by comments in the sermon.
Boyd said: “My father taught me how to take responsibility and today I stand to take responsibility for those words. My apologies offered to anyone that those words may have offended or may have taken those words in terms that were not the way I intended them. For those, I apologize.”
The Los Angeles Police Department has reacted by saying: “Pastor Boyd’s remarks speak for themselves. … The LAPD will continue to work with community leaders including Rev. Boyd, and any other community leaders that want to make Los Angeles a better, safer place.”
And Boyd’s new video agrees with that.
“There’s much work left yet for us to do and I invite all of us to remain at the table of discussion and planning so that we can bring communities and generations together,” Boyd said.
Reacting to Boyd’s apology, Garcetti’s office released a statement that said: “We welcome Pastor Boyd’s statement. Our city fares best when the community and law enforcement join forces.”
Boyd had maintained the controversial language in his sermon was quoted from a letter sent out by other black clergy and was not his own.
However, some of those who watched the video said it was not clear that he was quoting someone else and he delivered the words as if they were his own.