One day after releasing a statement about the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Barack Obama spoke out about the murders of police officers in Dallas on Thursday night.
“We still don’t know all the facts. What we do know is that there has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” Obama said in remarks during a trip to Warsaw, Poland for the NATO Summit. “Police in Dallas were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe during peaceful protests. These law enforcement officers were targeted, and nearly a dozen officers were shot. Five were killed. Other officers and at least one civilian were wounded. Some are in serious condition and we’re praying for their recovery.”
A sniper attacked the officers during a peaceful protest over the deaths of Sterling and Castile, both of whom were killed this week after interactions with police officers.
“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,” Obama said. “According to police, there are multiple suspects. We will learn more undoubtedly about their twisted motivations. But let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement. The FBI is already in touch with the Dallas police, and anyone involved in these senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.”
On Thursday, Obama said Americans “should be deeply troubled by the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. We’ve seen such tragedies far too many times, and our hearts go out to the families and communities who’ve suffered such a painful loss.”
Speaking Friday, he added to those remarks. “For now, let me just say that even as yesterday I spoke about our need to be concerned, as all Americans, about racial disparities in our criminal justice system, I also said our police have an extraordinarily difficult job. And the vast majority of them do their job in outstanding fashion. I also indicated the degree to which we need to be supportive of those officers who do their job each and every day, protecting us and protecting our communities. Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices they make for us. We also know when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately, it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic. In the days ahead, we will have to consider those realities as well.”
Obama closed his statement by asking Americans to focus on the victims of the Dallas shooting and their family members. “They are heartbroken,” he said. “The entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core. And we are grieving with them. I’d ask all Americans to say a prayer for these officers and their families. Keep them in your thoughts. As a nation, let’s remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women in blue, not just today, but every day.”