Pursuit of death penalty in Tops case ‘disturbing’ - Catholic Courier
A police officer is seen standing in front of a sign for Tops grocery store. A Buffalo police officer stands at the scene of a mass shooting at a TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., May 15, 2022. The Justice Department said Jan. 12 it is seeking the death penalty in a federal hate crimes case against Payton Gendron who acted on racist ideology to target and murder 10 Black Americans at the supermarket that day. (CNS photo/Brendan McDermid, Reuters)

Pursuit of death penalty in Tops case ‘disturbing’

To the editor:

The recent decision by the U.S. Justice Department to pursue the death penalty for Payton Gendron, who killed 10 Black people in a Tops Supermarket in 2022, is disturbing. Although the department has the option of pursuing the death penalty in hate-crime cases, it has been hesitant to choose this option. The present administration had campaigned for its elimination. Attorney General Merrick Garland had called for a moratorium on its use, pending a review after several botched executions, but federal prosecutors were permitted to seek death sentences.

Gendron is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. His attorney has offered an alternative to his execution that should be considered. The efforts of the federal government would be better spent on combatting the forces that facilitated the terrible crime, including easy access to deadly weapons and the inability of social media companies to moderate hateful online rhetoric and images.

Father Kevin E. McKenna

Tags: Gun Violence
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