How does the Christian determine justice?

The trial of NYC police officer Erik Duran, charged with causing the death of a suspected drug dealer during an arrest, has raised many questions. While some argue that he acted in self-defense, others question his methods. This article will explore the facts, context, and biblical fundamentals surrounding this case to provide a deeper understanding of the issues at hand.

Here are the facts: On August 23, 2023, Officer Erik Duran was engaged in a drug sting operation, commonly referred to as a "buy and bust." Undercover officers were purchasing drugs from Eric Duprey. Duprey attempted to evade arrest by getting on his motorcycle. As he fled, Officer Duran threw a picnic cooler at him, causing Duprey to crash and subsequently die from the fall.

We also need to consider some crucial context related to his speeding on a sidewalk.  If someone hits you with a motorcycle going 30+ MPH while you're on a sidewalk, it can be considered a deadly weapon. This is no different from swinging a knife or pointing a gun at someone. People acknowledge that even God-given rights are conditional. They are conditional on not attempting to remove someone else's rights. In this case, Duprey's rights cannot be considered fully in tact. Although Duprey should not have been executed, the police have a duty to protect the public, and even Duprey's supporters agree that he should have been stopped. ( (if we want to embed the link to his supporter saying the officer should have stopped him)

This begs some questions. Is pushing Duprey off the bike better than using the cooler? What about a 180lb man tackling someone off a bike - are we to believe that would have been safer than striking him with a cooler? Why does the officer need to throw his body in front of a moving vehicle? Duprey may have been driving very close to Officer Duran. Was he close enough to hit him? A strong man may not be able to throw a 40lb cooler very far, especially not in the dimensions of a picnic cooler.

How do we get to the bottom of this?

We use the Bible as our standard and to bring clarity. God loves life and hates death (Genesis 9:6). Murder and killing are not the same (Exodus 21:13). Manslaughter is different than premeditated murder (Exodus 22). The Exodus 22 robber shows there is a difference between night and day. The context of that is the assailant was more likely to be considered a physical threat at night. Then we have Psalm 144:1 “Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” We cannot be unequivocally passive people.

So, are we dealing with premeditated murder, involuntary manslaughter, or a justified use of force in protection of himself and innocent citizens?

Maybe there’s even a simpler question to ask that will help inform where you land on this crucial subject of justice: When comparing the two men involved in this case,: who would you rather live next to?

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