St. Thomas Pastor Examines Roots of Police Brutality in His New Book

Pastor Charles L. Brown Jr. will be at Bookstore 340 on St. Thomas Saturday to discuss and sign copies of his book “From Scapegoats to Lambs, How God’s Word Speaks to George Floyd’s Murder.” (Photo submitted by Charles L. Brown Jr.)

Pastor Charles L. Brown Jr. will be at Crown Bay Saturday to sign copies of his book, “From Scapegoats to Lambs, How God’s Word Speaks to George Floyd’s Murder,” which looks at the phenomenon of George Floyd’s torturous triumph and how it moves people toward the goal of abolishing police brutality.

“I think we’ve been struggling to figure out why we can’t fix it. Why the officers can’t stop. And the only way to really get to the bottom of those answers is to have a multi-disciplinary examination of the factors that are at play,” Brown said. “And I think when we do so it helps us not just to see the pervasiveness of violence, and the culture of the institution and how it supports violence, but it also allows us to look at other sectors within our communities that do the same thing.”

The Baltimore, Maryland, native is the founding pastor of the Family of Faith African Methodist Episcopal Church on St. Thomas and co-founder of the Virgin Islands Alliance for Consumer Justice. With his book, he hopes to analyze the murder of George Floyd to examine the forces that allow police brutality to transpire.

“With that particular murder, it just caused me to ask God ‘What is really going on here? There must be something else going on here,’” Brown said. “It allowed me to see it from a spiritual perspective. It allowed me to go to the Bible and search for specific narratives in the Old Testament and in the Gospels, and use those narratives to kind of deconstruct the dynamics that are in play with police brutality.”

What started as a fixation to try to fix police brutality allowed Brown to write his book in just a little over a year’s time.

“It [George Floyd’s death] happened on the 25th, I think I saw the video on the 26th,” Brown said. “I gave a sermon that following Sunday, and right when I went home, I was able to carve out the chapters of the book in about nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.”

Brown said that between June 15th and July 1st his first book was completed.

In decoding the continuation of police brutality and why it has not ended, Brown said, “What is happening is something that has spiritual tentacles to it, and that’s why it cannot be resolved by legislation alone. We’re talking about practices and a culture that is deeply embedded with almost a sacred overtone, and that these behaviors have become almost ritualistic such that just passing of laws is not going to do it.”

Brown said that he wrote the book not only to encourage police officers to find a better way to deal with the issue of police brutality but to also allow people to know that the Bible helps to recognize that God already knows what is going on.

“The mentality, the sense of privilege, the sense of ‘I can get away with whatever I want to get away with,’ is absolutely present in police departments here as well as all over.”

Brown said if people ask themselves why police brutality continues to exist, his book will be of interest to them.

The signing will be between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at Bookstore 340 in Crown Bay. He will discuss and sign copies of his book, which can be purchased on-site or online here.

He can be reached by phone at 443-326-5533 or email at for more information.