TALLAHASSEE — Update, 2 p.m. 10/29/21:
Franklin Graham, President and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, sent a statement to ABC 27 Friday afternoon regarding Chief Lawrence Revell speaking at a law enforcement conference hosted by the association in September.
"I admire and am grateful to Police Chief Lawrence Revell for sharing his experiences at one of our recent events. He is an experienced and respected civic servant, and he was a great encouragement to dozens of other officers at the retreat. It is a shame that certain groups are calling for his demotion or removal because he participated in this event and expressed his faith. I would ask those who are speaking against Chief Revell to respect his rights and freedoms—and give him the same consideration that they expect themselves," said Graham.
Graham further added that some groups have accused the association of being anti-LGBTQ. He refers to these statements as "absolutely untrue."
"We love gay people and I want them to know the same truth that has changed my life—God loves us. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to die for our sins, and anyone who repents can be forgiven and made right with God," Graham said. "Sharing the hope of God’s Word isn’t hateful, I think it is the most loving thing we can do. But our events for law enforcement officials aren’t about gender or sexuality, we simply offer these retreats to show officers and their spouses our gratitude for their sacrificial and dedicated service. It’s a shame that anyone would take issue with that.”
The following is the original story posted by ABC 27:
Local advocacy groups are calling for the resignation of Tallahassee Police Department Police Chief Lawrence Revell after making some controversial remarks that sparked anger in local advocacy groups.
The move comes after Chief Lawrence Revell spoke to a Billy Graham Evangelist law enforcement conference back in September.
Those against the measure said his attendance furthers an atmosphere of discrimination and harassment against the LGBTQ plus community.
"So we need an open system where our city officials can call out leadership openly when they do things wrong, and we want to see the commissioners and the mayor publicly denounced the actions, instruct risco to remove him for office and hold another process whereby we appoint another police chief."
Chief Revell defended his actions at Wednesday night's city council meeting.
He said that his record will show that he does not discriminate within his department and treats everyone fairly.
He also defended his right to be able to attend the conference and speak about his faith.
"The Tallahassee police department has a long distinguished history of not only hiring and supporting but promoting members of the LGBTQ community. They have and we continue to do that."
After today's press conference Chief Revell did not apologize for the remarks he made but continued to stand with his beliefs in a new release statement saying,
"I was not on duty when I spoke at and attended the BGEA Law Enforcement Appreciation Retreat,” Chief Revell said. “I have my personal beliefs and I’m entitled to those just like everyone else is entitled to their beliefs. The real concern should be if there is any differential treatment to community members or department members and I can assure you that never happens and it never will. The Tallahassee Police Department has a very long history of not only hiring, but supporting and promoting, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and I stand by that.”