Showing posts with label Dallas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dallas. Show all posts

July 11, 2016

Married Gay Police Officer Wounded in Dallas Shooting

  Officer Jesus Retana (Dallas News)

A former Army reservist who served a tour in Afghanistan went on a shooting rampage over July 7-8 during a protest over recent police shootings of African-American men in Minnesota and Louisiana, killing five police officers ( including an openly gay individual ) and wounding up to nine others.
Police used a "bomb robot" on July 8 to end a long standoff in a Dallas parking garage and kill the gunman, identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, a Dallas-area resident who said he "wanted to kill white people." ( Johnson's actions were separate from the peaceful protest that took place. )

The New Civil Rights Network noted that Jesus Retana—who has worked for Dallas Area Rapid Transit ( DART ) for the last 10 years—was among the officers wounded. Retana married Andrew Moss, a former DART officer himself, in 2008.

President Obama has commented, "We still don't know all the facts. What we do know is that there has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. Police in Dallas were on duty, doing their jobs, keeping people safe during peaceful protests.

"As I told [Dallas] Mayor [Mike] Rawlings, I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas. According to police, there are multiple suspects. We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations. But let's be clear: There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement. The FBI is already in touch with the Dallas police, and anyone involved in these senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done."

In a statement, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, "This has been a week of profound grief and heartbreaking loss. The peaceful protest that was planned in Dallas last night was organized in response to the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

"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.

"Rather, the answer must be action: calm, peaceful, collaborative and determined action. We must continue working to build trust between communities and law enforcement. We must continue working to guarantee every person in this country equal justice under the law."

LGBT group Lambda Legal issued a statement from Roger Poindexter, South Central Regional Office director and National Board of Directors Co-chair Tracey Guyot-Wallace, both based in Dallas. They said, "It's a sad day for our city. Our hearts go out to the families of the officers who were killed or injured. Gun violence everywhere must end. Shooting random police officers at a peaceful protest isn't the answer to anything."

In a separate statement, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, "We are shocked and sickened by the calculated attack on law enforcement in Dallas last night that has left five officers dead and at least nine other officers and civilians wounded. Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who were senselessly murdered protecting a peaceful protest, and to the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Department, and the broader community they nobly served.

"There is no justification for this cold-blooded assault on law enforcement officers who go to work each day to protect the public. In the aftermath of Orlando, the LGBTQ community saw police officers across the nation work even harder to protect our safe spaces, and we know how dangerous their jobs can be."

Locally, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression also condemned the shooting attack on Dallas police. Frank Chapman said, "We reject any effort to hold the movement for justice—which has always been a non-violent mass movement—in any way responsible for this crime." ( The Alliance has called for a mass demonstration at the Federal Building in Chicago at 4:30 p.m. on July 11 that the Department of Justice prosecute police officers who have murdered Black and Latino people. )

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "All of America woke up this morning to the horror of police officers being ambushed in Dallas, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. It is a tragedy that follows two other shocking shootings in Baton Rouge and in Minneapolis.

"As a country and as a city we can never accept acts of violence anywhere, at any time, against anyone, for any reason. We cannot be a country where our differences define us — be it profession, race, creed, or sexual orientation. We must recommit ourselves to our common values to confront corrosive violence. We must build a dialogue that builds trust between us all. That is the foundation of this nation, that is what binds us together, and that is what we all must strive towards every day.”

Windy City Times

Does the Killing of 5 Police Officers Signals Spiraling Violence? The numbers!


The shooting of 12 police officers in Dallas on Thursday suggests spiraling violence: The cops were shot during a protest against the shooting of black men by police. A vicious circle of retribution would be something new for the U.S. where, unlike in other developed countries, killings by police far outnumber officer deaths in the line of duty.

The point that police kill more people in the U.S. than in European countries has often been made. It's intuitively understandable: American cops have to deal with armed criminals more often because guns are more widely available, and the dominant culture is pro-gun, so people have less of a problem using weapons. For all that, however, relatively few officers get killed.

Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics of "justifiable homicide" by law enforcement officers indicate that in 2010-14, the average number of fatal shootings by police was 428 per year (the number has been hovering around 400 for much longer than that). Also according to the FBI, about 50 officers per year are killed in the line of duty. That's already a rather high ratio of inflicted to suffered casualties -- and it disregards the insufficiency of the "justifiable homicide" data; The Washington Post, for example, calculates that a total of 965 people were fatally shot by police in 2015. 

In countries where killings of every kind are not as frequent -- in fact, so infrequent that it even makes little sense to correct the statistics for factors such as population or number of officers -- the ratios are much lower. 

In the U.K., a total of 250 officers have been fatally shot since 1945. That's fewer than four per year. Police, who are usually unarmed, shoot even fewer civilians. Since 1990, they have killed a total of 60 people -- a little more than two per year. 

In Germany, officers are usually armed. Last year, they shot eight people -- about the average number for the last 10 years. Between 1945 and 2011, some 392 German police officers died in the line of duty -- about 6 per year, although there have been fewer deaths in recent years. 

In France, there's a dearth of statistics on police killings. By one count, 54 people were killed by officers between 2005 and 2015, about five a year; and between six and 13 officers have died in the line of duty each year in 2008-15.

With absolute numbers so small, it's difficult to make statistical comparisons with the U.S. Rather, one could say that the killings of and by officers are extraordinary incidents in western Europe, and comparable, small numbers of cops and suspects die at each other's hands. 

What's at stake in the U.S. is the all-important preservation of police legitimacy -- a key concept in today's criminology concerning trust in law enforcement and the perceived obligation to obey the police. Any diminution would produce a precarious situation.

In the wake of the Dallas shootings, it would be a normal human reaction for U.S. cops to get even tougher, to avenge their fallen comrades. Yet what's needed is a de-escalation. There will still be crazed criminals who kill cops -- but perhaps in time a less violent culture will develop as a basis for strengthened law-enforcement legitimacy.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Leonid Bershidsky at

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