The head of the Dallas police department has said a suspect involved in an armed stand-off with authorities admitted wanting to kill white people, especially officers.
Chief David Brown said the alleged gunman, who was killed after a police robot detonated an explosive device and has been identified as 25-year-old African-American Micah Xavier Johnson, a former army reservist, by US media, was upset about the killing of black people by police.
‘‘We can’t get into the head of a person that would do something like this. We negotiated with this person, they seemed lucid during the negotiation – he wanted to kill officers. And he expressed killing white people. He expressed killing white officers, he expressed anger for ‘Black Lives Matter’. None of that makes sense, none of that is a legitimate reason to do harm to anyone. So the rest of it would just be speculating on what his motivations were, we just know what he said. That’s what he said to our negotiators,’‘ David Brown said.
The Los Angeles Times says Johnson did not have a criminal record.
The Dallas police chief has also said the alleged suspect told law enforcement officers he had not pledged allegiance to any groups.
Despite Johnson’s avowed aim to kill white police officers, at least one of his victims was Hispanic; police officer Patrick Zamarripa, who survived three tours of duty in Iraq only to die in Dallas.
And the Dallas police have released photos of their officers posing with Black Lives Matter activists ahead of the ill-fated protest march, stating they respected each other, and that the protest was orderly before the shots rang out. Along with the photos was the message “Four of our officers have sacrificed their lives defending the rights of people protesting against the police”. Of course, one other officer died later of his wounds.
Other social media posts have been less-well received. Former Republican congressman and now media pundit Joe Walsh tweeted “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out Black Lives Matter punks. Real America is coming for you”.
People are taking off the mask tonight. This is a now deleted tweet from former congressman
WalshFreedom</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dallas?src=hash">#Dallas</a> <a href="https://t.co/IMAOXnvgdL">pic.twitter.com/IMAOXnvgdL</a></p>— W. Kamau Bell (wkamaubell) July 8, 2016
He later deleted the tweet, but too late. It has triggered a storm of protest, with people noting he had “essentially called for a race war”, and led to calls for his arrest for threatening President Obama.
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch has made a brief public statement.
“After the events of this week, Americans across the county are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty and of fear. These feelings are understandable and they are justified. But the answer must not be violence. The answer is never violence,” she said.