Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke bluntly and movingly in a Friday afternoon speech at a vigil for the fatal shooting of five Dallas police officers last night during a Black Lives Matter protest.
“We will not shy away from the very real fact that we as a city, as a state, as a nation are struggling with racial issues,” Rawlings said. “They continue to divide us. Yes, it’s that word race, and we’ve got to attack it head on.”
Rawlings went on to say Americans leaders must approach a “complicated” issue like race with the nuance it deserves.
“The question is, can we as citizens speak against the actions of a relatively few officers who blemish the reputation of their high calling and at the same time support and defend the 99 percent of officers who do their job professionally, honestly, and bravely,” he said. “This is the men and women who were shot last night. I think we can and I think we must.”
Rawlings spoke the day after five police officers were killed in shootings at a Dallas protest against police violence, a day after Minnesota police fatally shot Philando Castile and two days after Louisiana police fatally shot Alton Sterling. Both victims were African American.