On July 7, a sniper opened fired on police officers during a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas. The attack killed five officers, injured 12 others and caused mass hysteria among the protestors. While two civilians continue to be hospitalised, the injured officers have all been discharged.
What started as an evening protesting the killings of two African-American citizens turned into a nightmare for everyone present at the scene when a sniper open fired. The officers stationed at the location started looking for the shooter, while the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protestors ran for their lives.
The shooter was using ‘shoot and move’ combat tactic and it has been said that the shots were fired from one building at different levels.
The shooter was later located and negotiations began. However, the officers failed to negotiate and had to use their bomb squad robot to blow the target.
The shooter has been identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, an African-American military veteran who served in Afghanistan. He was 25 years old and lived in Texas. Police have found bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics from his house in Mesquite. The lone shooter had been troubled by the recent shootings and took this drastic measure. Police chief David Brown said the shooter had told a negotiator that he had wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers.
In another shooting the same day in Tennessee, Lakeem Keon Scott, a black army veteran killed a woman and also injured three other people, including a police officer, as he opened fire on a highway. After his arrest he told investigators he was troubled by police violence against African-Americans.
These incidents come as a reaction to the recent shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castille in Minnesota. Castile was shot dead in his car after being stopped by police in St Paul, Minnesota on July 6, while Sterling was killed by police two days earlier in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
32 year old Castile was in his car with his girlfriend when he was stopped by an officer who wanted to check his ID. Castile told the officer that he had a licensed gun and was not reaching for it, but was getting his ID instead. Despite this, the officer shot him anyway killing him on spot. Castile’s girlfriend live streamed what happened after he was shot. She said in the video that the officer shot him 4 times.
In the case of Sterling, on July 4, after receiving an anonymous tip that a man in a red shirt was selling CDs and had pointed a gun at someone two police officers arrived at the scene. 37 year Sterling, fit the description as he sold CDs and he was wearing a red shirt. The officers quickly pinned him down and one of them yelled, “He’s got a gun”. Despite Sterling being pinned down by two officers, making him unable to move, the second officer fired 4 shots in his chest at point blank range. This was recorded by the bystanders and was put on social media. The video caught national attention and so the protests began.
While the protests were peaceful Micah Xavier Johnson took up arms against the police and as a result officers Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa , Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Aherns lost their lives.
President Barack Obama called the Dallas shooting a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said: “There is too much violence, too much hate, too much senseless killing, too many people dead who shouldn’t be. No-one has all the answers. We have to find them together.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that the shooting had shaken the soul of the nation.
Mr. Trump also said: “The deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castille in Minnesota also make clear how much more work we have to do to make every American feel that their safety is protected.”
Meanwhile right-wingers were quick to blame ‘Black Lives Matter’ for this incident as they believe that the organization is creating an illusion of racial discrimination.
“3 Dallas Cops killed, 7 wounded. This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” tweeted Former Rep. Joe Walsh, tea party Congressman from Illinois. He later tweeted “I wasn’t calling for violence, against Obama or anyone. Obama’s words & BLM’s deeds have gotten cops killed. Time for us to defend our cops.”
Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King also criticised Obama over the shootings, he tweeted, “#DallasPoliceShooting has roots in first of anti-white/cop events illuminated by Obama…Officer Crowley. There were others.” Rep. King was referring to Massachusetts police Sgt. James Crowley, who arrested prominent black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in 2009 following a report of a break-in at Gates’ home. Obama criticised this and attracted controversy at the time as he said police “acted stupidly”
– Deiptimaan Chowdhury, Correspondent (North America)