The Dallas Police Killings: What We Know | Gradient

The Dallas Police killings: What we know


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According to police, at least four snipers positioned themselves in triangulated locations on rooftops near the end of a Black Lives Matter parade route in Dallas, Texas on Thursday, from where they attacked police officers with sniper rifles. Five officers are dead and seven more have been injured in what is being called the deadliest loss of life for a police force since 9/11.

The shooting began around 8:45, according to the New York Times.

“Some [officers] were shot in the back,” Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown said at a press conference Thursday night. “We believe that these suspects were positioning themselves in a way to triangulate on these officers. [They were] working together with rifles, triangulating at elevated positions in different points in the downtown area where the march ended up going. [They] planned to injure and kill as many law enforcement officers as they could.”

So far, only one of the slain officers has been identified: as 43-year-old Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer Brent Thompson, according to the AP. He was a seven-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department who, according to CNN, married a fellow police officer just two weeks ago.

At least two civilians were also injured in the shootings. Shetamia Taylor, 37, was reportedly struck in the leg while she was attempting to shield her children.

Police officers — aided by the FBI — took three suspects into custody late Thursday night. Early Friday, a fourth suspect was killed during a standoff. According to Brown, the “suspect said he was not a part of any group, and that he was acting alone.” Brown went on to say that “the suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He was upset about the recent shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

When asked if he was confident that police had detained all suspects, Brown said he was not.

At a press conference on Thursday, police originally identified a man in a camouflage t-shirt as a suspect, though he was later downgraded to “person of interest.” Twitter’s army of amateur investigative reporters soon exonerated the man, Mark Hughes, by posting multiple videos of him assisting officers at the time of the shooting. Hughes eventually turned himself into the police and was released shortly thereafter.

President Obama is currently in Poland, meeting with NATO officials, but he delivered a statement early Friday morning, saying that “there is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement.”

“We still don’t know all of the facts. What we do know is that there has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” he said. “We are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas.”

The Dallas Police Department has a good reputation in the city and the country as a leader in de-escalation. Brown believes de-escalation training has led to a “30% decline in assaults on officers and a 40% drop in shootings by police.” This also led to a historic plummet in the city’s homicide rate, which was used as a model for more effective, transparent policing around the country. Brown has also expressed sympathy for the Black Lives Matter movement, and has staunchly supported Dallas’ citizens right to protest, saying that “the ideal police response to a protest is no response at all.”


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