A sniper killed five police officials in Dallas on Thursday night and injured six, in the midst of a protest march against the death of two black men at the hands of the police in a span of 48 hours in two U.S cities.
The sniper — who was later killed by the police using a robotic explosive — said he wanted to “kill white police officials,” according to the city’s police chief. He claimed to be disturbed by the police shooting of the black men, the police chief said.
The lingering distrust between police departments and black communities across the U.S boiled over on Thursday as protestors marched in several places. The fatal shootings of the black men were recorded – one by a bystander and the other by the victim ‘s girlfriend – and the videos have gone viral.
In Warsaw, Poland, to attend the NATO summit, President Barack Obama had to respond twice in one day to developments back home, revisiting questions of racial justice and gun control. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton cancelled a rally she was to address with Vice President Joe Biden.
The police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana shot Alton Sterling, a 37-year old former convict, dead on Tuesday night. He was released from jail recently, and carried a gun, but had not drawn it, according to eyewitnesses quoted in the U.S media.
Wednesday evening in Falcon Heights, outside Minneapolis, the 33-year old school staff Philando Castile was pulled over by the police for driving with a broken taillight and was shot within minutes. His girl friend Diamond Reynolds live-streamed the incident, starting soon after the shooting, even as her four-year old daughter watched from the backseat. Castile told the officer who approached him that he was carrying a gun and had the license. In the video – watched more than five million times online in 48 hours – Ms. Reynolds is heard telling the officer that Castile was asked to take out his license.
“Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white?” Mark Dayton, Governor of Minnesota asked. “I don’t think it would have. … I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this kind of racism exists.” Valerie Castile, the victim’s mother, told a crowd protestors that black men “are on the endangered species list.”
According to a Washington Post analysis, 491 people have been killed in police shootings in the last six months, up from 465 in the first six months of 2015. Half the people killed in police shootings are white and half are minorities, including African Americans. In country awash with guns – US has more guns than people – police officials respond with the near certainty that nearly all those they deal with are armed. Nearly ten percent of the people who die in police shootings are unarmed and a quarter are mentally ill.
“When incidents like this occur, there’s a big chunk of our citizenry that feels as if, because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same, and that hurts, and that should trouble all of us,” Mr. Obama said after the Diamond video enraged public opinion. “This is not just a black issue, not just a Hispanic issue. This is an American issue that we all should care about.”
In another statement, the president described the Dallas ambush “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.” “I believe I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas,” he said. “We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these types of attacks.”
[Source:- The HIndu]