Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Obama: U.S. is not Divided…Dallas Sniper Doesn’t Represent African-Americans | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55354179

Washington – President Barack Obama had rejected the violence in Dallas, Texas following the sniper incident that killed policemen.

Obama spoke to the press at the NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland. He was expected to visit Spain for four days and meet with Spanish King Philip VI, but the visit was cut short.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told the press that Obama will travel to Dallas early next week at the invitation of Mayor Mike Rawlings.

Earnest added that the President will devote most of his week to addressing the racial and policing issues raised by the events of the past few days.

In the statement, Earnest also mentioned that Obama used the week to “continue the work to bring people together to support our police officers and communities, and find common ground by discussing policy ideas for addressing the persistent racial disparities in our criminal justice system.”

Obama told the press: “As painful as the week has been, I fully believe that America is not as divided as people have suggested.”

“Americans of all races and all backgrounds are rightly outraged by the inexcusable attacks on police, whether it’s in Dallas or anyplace else,” he added.

“That includes protesters. It includes family members who have grave concerns about police conduct and they’ve said that this is unacceptable,” Obama went on to say. “There’s no division there.”

The president described the week as “tough”.

Obama said the Dallas shooter who does not represent black Americans, any more than a white man accused of killing blacks at a church in Charleston, S.C., represented whites.

Obama said he would visit Dallas “in a few days” to pay respects and mourn with the stricken Texas city. Obama added that he is planning on convening with police officers, community and civil rights activists and others to talk about next steps.

He said that while “there is sorrow, there is anger, there is confusion, there’s unity in recognizing that this is not how we want our communities to operate. This is not who we want to be as Americans and that serves as the basis for us being able to move forward in a constructive and positive way.”

But Obama stressed that he will continue to speak out about gun control in the United States.

“I am going to keep on talking about the fact that we cannot eliminate all racial tension in our country overnight,” he said. “We are not going to be able to identify, ahead of time, and eliminate every madman or troubled individual who might want to do harm against innocent people. But we can make it harder for them to do so.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden urged Americans to stay united and support the police. Biden showed sympathy to those protesting in several U.S. cities.

He said, “those killed and wounded were protecting the safety of those who were peacefully protesting against racial injustices in the criminal justice system.”

Biden added, “Those who were marching against the kind of shocking images we saw in St. Paul and Baton Rouge – and have seen too often elsewhere – of too many black lives lost.”

Earlier, Dallas Police reported they discovered a number of weapons and bombs in the house of the sniper Micah X. Johnson, 25. Johnson, an Army veteran, was a demented individual and didn’t belong to any group or organization.

The attack took place as protesters gathered after the killing of of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana by the police. The peaceful gathering became chaotic after a sniper opened fire. The area was then evacuated and the suspect engaged with the police in a stand-off.

Johnson said he wanted to exterminate whites, “especially white officers,” officials said. He killed five policemen and injured seven others.

Police tried to negotiate with the suspect who didn’t claim any affiliations with any group. After the negotiations broke, the suspect was killed by remotely controlled explosives.

U.S. Ministry of Defense said that Johnson was in the U.S. Army Reserve for six years and was in Afghanistan between 2013 and 2014.

Protests blocked the roads in New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Baltimore. Media reported no serious injuries or altercations while Phoenix police department reported using pepper spray to separate the crowds who threatened to block one of the highways.

In Rochester, NY, police chief Michael Ciminelli said that 74 citizens were arrested for blocking traffic.

Video spiraled on social media showing protesting in Atlanta in the biggest rally chanting for justice.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted: “Today we have had less than ten people arrested during what has been a peaceful protest. We urge anyone protesting not to enter the highway.”

Protests in several states happened after the death of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.

Black Lives Matter officials are trying to create a balance between condemning the death of the Dallas policemen and shedding more light on the killings of African-Americans by white policemen.