Dallas shooting: We fully embrace Black Lives Matter and the police force, says Congressional Black Caucus

Black congressmen and women angrily condemned house speaker Paul Ryan’s refusal to budge on gun controls


Rachael Revesz
New York
Friday 08 July 2016 16:07 BST
A police officer cries as five of his colleagues were shot dead in Dallas
A police officer cries as five of his colleagues were shot dead in Dallas (AP)

After a shocking week of both police and anti-police violence in Minnesota, Louisiana and Texas, the Congressional Black Caucus has demanded another debate and vote on gun controls.

Caucus chairman George Butterfield said: “Republicans, why on earth are you recoiling and not giving us a debate on gun violence? Give us a hearing. Give us a debate."

His comments came hours after a man gunned down five white police officers and wounded six more as close to 800 people were peacefully marching through the streets of Dallas to protest the police killings of black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Mr Butterfield said the caucus support and embracing of Black Lives Matter’s goals and ideals “does not discount” their support for the police.

“99.8% of police officers in their country are wonderful men and women who put on their uniforms and serve us every day,” said Mr Butterfield.

“If someone goes in a building and assassinates five police officers, they are a terrorist, they are not part of Black Lives Matter.


“What their motivations are, law enforcement will figure this out, but please let’s be intelligent enough to separate the issues facing us today,” he added.

“America should know those protests were non-violent. They were crying out in pain,” said congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.

President Barack Obama addresses the overnight shooting of police officers in Dallas 

 President Barack Obama addresses the overnight shooting of police officers in Dallas 

“An AR-15 does not discriminate,” she added. She called for the “no-fly, no buy” act, which would prevent anyone on the FBI’s watch list from legally buying a weapon.

Cedric Richmond, congressman from Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was shot dead by police this week, warned the public not to use the Black Lives Matter movement as a "scapegoat".

The suspect carried out the largest attack against US police since 9/11 in Manhattan.

All amendments on gun controls proposed by democrats fell flat in an historic vote in congress shortly after the attacks in Orlando, when a lone gunman shot dead 49 people in June.

But Republicans do not look likely to budge, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s comments early on Friday.

“It’s been a long week for our country and a long month for America. We’ve seen terrible, terrible, senseless things. Every member of this body, every Republican and every Democrat, wants to see less gun violence,” he said.

“Sometimes we disagree on how to get there, sometimes we disagree passionately on how to get there. But in having this debate, let’s not lose sight of the values that unite us. Let’s not lose sight of our common humanity.”

He added: “We need to take a moment here for thought, for reflection, for prayer, for justice and for action. Let justice be done. Let some healing occur too.”

Congressman and Black Caucus member Al Green angrily condemned Mr Ryan’s comments, and said if he can order an investigation on Hillary Clinton’s emails, he can bring “together the right people” to sort out gun violence.

“That is his responsibility, and we will not let them off the hook,” he said.

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