WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 8, 2016) — Elected officials and organizations around the United States comment on the murder of five police officers and wounding of seven more in Dallas on Thursday, along with continued commentary on the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), who is chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), released the following statement in reaction to the tragic Thursday night when a peaceful protest in response to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile turned deadly as five Dallas, Texas police officers were killed and seven others wounded by at least one sniper.
“The past few days have been days of unimaginable hurt across our country. Each day, we have woken to the news of the latest tragedy. First, two young men were shot seemingly without reason by those meant to protect them. And then last night’s horrific scene in Dallas left five police officers dead. I am heartbroken and resolved to ending this cycle of pain.
“My thoughts are with the families of those brave Dallas police officers, as well as the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. But, as we mourn, we must remember that we do not mourn murder through murder. Nor do we create justice through injustice. Now is the time for all of us to come together.
“Now is the time to end the division and being the healing. To prevent more pain in the future, we must look at the root cause of these deaths. But we must not let our outrage turn into violence. Too often, we have seen how easily entire communities can be torn apart by a single person with hate in their heart and the means to carry it out.
“In the coming days, weeks, and months, we must focus on how we can come together and create more trust between the police and the communities they protect. That trust is essential to the future of our nation.”
Following last night’s killing of five Dallas law enforcement officers and the wounding of another seven, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL-8) issued the following statement:
“Last night’s coordinated ambush on Dallas law enforcement officers is an atrocity. It will only serve to distract from and undermine the efforts of peaceful protesters seeking an end to the needless violence that took the lives of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this week. The heartless, calculated and unjustifiable murder of five officers—the very people who put their lives on the line to protect our streets — and wounding of seven others is especially tragic given the Dallas Police Department’s leadership in improving community relations, transparency and supporting the rights of peaceful protesters.”
“Even as last night’s chaos was still unfolding, the brave officers being targeted remained in harm’s way to protect their fallen colleagues and help save protesters from bursts of gunfire. The most responsible—and best—thing we can do to honor their actions and those we lost is remain calm and not rush to judgment as we continue to learn all the facts. Let us be vigilant in our words to be sure we don’t escalate this tragic situation or inflame emotions any further. Now is the time for our nation to come together and unite against all hateful violence. My condolences go out to the families of officers killed and my prayers are with those wounded and still in surgery.”
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-4) released the following statement on the shooting attack on police officers in Dallas:
“In Dallas last night, a peaceful protest turned into a terror attack on our police. My heart breaks for the families and loved ones of these fallen officers. I know that all Americans and Minnesotans will join me in keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.
This tragic incident is another reminder that law enforcement officers put their lives on the line to protect our families every day. I am thankful for their dedicated service and I know the vast majority of Minnesotans and Americans are as well.
Last night’s attack on the Dallas Police, and the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile this week, remind us that we have much work to do to build safe and non-violent communities for police officers and for all our citizens. We need to do this work together.”
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Keith Ellison released the following statement on last night’s shooting after a protest in Dallas:
“Last night’s attack on Dallas Police Officers and peaceful protestors is appalling. Not only because of the tragic loss of life, but because these police officers were doing what they were supposed to be doing – serving and protecting the community. All Americans should condemn this attack. I remain concerned for the Dallas officers fighting for their lives and the civilians who were also shot. I also grieve with the families of the officers who were killed.
“The protest in Dallas was a testament to the pain so many Americans feel seeing men and women killed. But even in their pain, the protestors embodied the proud history of political protest in this country. They marched with peace in their hearts, not violence. The protest even featured police officers and protestors posing and smiling together for pictures.
“When the shooting began, there was no hesitation among the Dallas Police or the people, as the police immediately worked to protect the marchers, and they assisted in capturing one of the shooters.
“While we are only beginning to learn about the motives, it is clear the gunman was driven by his homicidal twisted fantasies. No sensible person believes we can improve our communities relationship with law enforcement through violence. We improve it by taking to the streets and making our voices be heard. We improve it by voting. We improve it by making meaningful reforms.
“Nobody should have to fear being shot and killed because of who they are or their job – whether they are a Black man like Philando Castile, or a police officer like Officer Brent Thompson.
“There will be moments of silence. But we must ensure that they are meaningful and compel us toward action and the necessary steps to protect everyone.
“Our communities desperately need peace. Nobody should have to fear for their life.
“Let’s fix that. Now.”
ST. Paul, Minn. – Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman today released the following statement after the shooting death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights – a Twin Cities suburb – and in the wake of peaceful protests occurring within Saint Paul as the capital city.
“The President’s comments about the tragic death of Philando Castile perfectly capture this moment we find ourselves in as a community, state and nation. As the mayor of the capital city where good people are rising up and lifting their voices in peaceful demonstration, let me just add that our grief is real and we mourn the loss of a life cut short.
“The preliminary facts of this case are particularly painful for the community. As elected leaders, we grieve alongside our friends and community members. I am also grateful to the Saint Paul Police Department who serve with respect and are working closely with our community members to facilitate a peaceful protest in the capital city.
“Finally, I have urged a thorough and expedited review of this case by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and local authorities. Justice delayed is justice denied. I have conveyed that desire to the Governor’s office and to the Ramsey County Attorney.
“Philando’s family deserves a prompt determination about potential charges.”
ST. PAUL, Minn. – State Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL–65) released a statement following the police shooting and death of 32 year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. Castile was shot in his vehicle by a St. Anthony police officer in front of his girlfriend and young child Wednesday night.
“Today we mourn the death of Philando Castile – a family man, a father, and a friend – who died an unnecessary and incomprehensible death. Philando was loved by his colleagues and the students at the J.J. Hill School, who remember his infectious smile and mission to make everyone happy. He was a good man and he should still be here.
We offer our thoughts and prayers to Mr. Castile’s family and the families of the black lives lost to police brutality, but prayers are not enough. We need to take action to not only ensure that justice is served in this particular case, but that these senseless tragedies stop altogether.
I commend Governor Dayton and Lieutenant Governor Smith for calling for an investigation by the Department of Justice. As a lawmaker, I welcome any and all input on how we can improve relationships between police and the communities they took an oath to protect. Being reactionary is no longer an option. People deserve answers, justice, and actual accountability – it’s the only way to begin the healing process and work toward change.
I want to express my deepest condolences to Mr. Castile’s family and friends, especially his young daughter who will grow up knowing her father died at the hands of a justice system that failed him. For her, for Ms. Diamond Reynolds, for Mr. Castile, and all of the people affected by this tragedy, I promise to fight for you.”
Minn. State Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL-67) released a statement following the police shooting and death of 32-year-old Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. Castile was shot in his vehicle by a St. Anthony police officer in front of his girlfriend and young child Wednesday night.
“Today I join Minnesotans in mourning the police shooting death of Philando Castile. Philando – as I was told by my first cousin – was a good man, a friendly and a hard-working person. As I heard the news last night, I was reminded how many of my constituents on the Eastside are like Philando – people just trying to better their communities and provide for their families. He was a good human being who did not deserve this end, which is why I join communities of color, and all Minnesotans, in calling for answers, justice, change and new accountability.
I applaud Governor Dayton and Lieutenant Governor Smith in their call for a federal investigation by the Department of Justice – and we should all rightfully expect justice. As the state senator representing Eastside St. Paul, I will do everything I can to make sure that the police value people lives.
I want to once again express my deepest sympathy for Philando Castile’s daughter, family, friends, and Ms. Diamond Reynolds. You are in our thoughts and prayers – and I promise you that I will work to turn our thoughts into action.”
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus & Political Action Committee released the following statement today after the tragic death of Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights.
“While many facts remain unknown at this time, the video of the aftermath of the shooting of Philando Castile offers a heartbreaking view into a narrative that has occurred all too often across our state, “ said Bryan Strawser, Executive Director, MN Gun Owners Caucus.
“We believe strongly that all citizens deserve equal protection under the law. In this case, as in others, citizens should expect and receive full transparency and accountability from law enforcement agencies that serve our local communities. We fully support the independent investigation being conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and join with Governor Dayton in asking for an independent federal investigation into this incident.”
“This tragedy may also offer an opportunity to take a hard look at police training and protocols related to interactions with armed citizens who are legally carrying a firearm. Despite their portrayal by some, law-abiding permit holders are statistically among the safest populations in our state. With more than 221,000 Minnesotans holding a Permit to Carry, nearly 1 out of every 25 citizens encountered by police may legally be carrying a firearm.”
“As the investigation proceeds and the facts become clearer, the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus offers to work with any law enforcement agency that wishes to review their protocols and training for interactions with legally armed citizens.”
Kirkland, Wash. — Statement from Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, CEO and executive director of MomsRising:
“With Cameron Sterling’s heart-breaking cry still ringing in our ears as he mourned the police shooting death of his father, Alton Sterling, we awoke this morning to news of yet another African American man being shot and killed by a police officer. His girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter were witnesses to his death.
“Our hearts are breaking but our resolve has hardened. This must stop. We must bring an end to the racial profiling, police brutality, and militarized policing targeting African American and Latino youth, families, and communities throughout our country.
“Alongside other leading organizations like Color of Change and #BlackLivesMatter, MomsRising is demanding an end to this slaughter. Local police departments have all too often been ineffective in investigating themselves. It is time for fair, outside, independent, federal investigation and prosecution of police misconduct. We are calling on the Obama administration, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security to investigate and implement reforms to end racial profiling, police brutality and the targeting of communities of color.
“Enough is enough. It is long past time for comprehensive national action. Our national leaders must take action now. And we will be watching.”