Reaction to the killing of three more police officers in Baton Rouge has been swift. US President Barack Obama immediately went on television to condemn the shootings. He also sought to balance concerns about police abuses, largely against African-Americans, while paying tribute to fallen officers. The President went on to vow that justice would be done and warned Americans against actions and rhetoric that divides the country.
“Five days ago I traveled to Dallas for the memorial service of the officers who were slain there. I said that that killer would not be the last person who tries to make us turn on each other nor will today’s killer. It remains up to us to make sure that they fail.”
Reacting to yet more violence in his state of Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards described Sunday’s shootings as an “unspeakable, heinous attack that served no purpose”.
“There simply is no place for more violence. That doesn’t help anyone, it doesn’t further the conversation, it doesn’t address any injustice perceived or real. It is just an injustice in and of itself.”
The memorial President Obama attended was for the five Dallas police officers who were killed by a black former US soldier who opened fire at the end of an otherwise peaceful protest on July 7. The rally had been denouncing the earlier killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota at the hands of police.
Those two killings and the reprisal attack on Dallas police by a suspect found to have embraced militant black nationalism have renewed national tensions over racial justice and gun violence just as America’s presidential campaign is kicking into high gear. The Dallas gunman, Micah Johnson, 25, was killed by police deploying a bomb-carrying robot against him.
Both presidential candidates used social media to convey their reactions to the latest shootings.
We are TRYING to fight ISIS, and now our own people are killing our police. Our country is divided and out of control. The world is watching— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2016
In her statement Hillary Clinton urged Americans to “stand together and reject violence and strengthen our communities.”
Hillary's statement on the shooting in Baton Rouge. pic.twitter.com/4a0MVF3025— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 17, 2016