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In the wake of the ambush-style attack in Dallas, Texas, that killed five officers and injured several more, the law enforcement community is reeling.
Jim Pasco, Executive Director of the Fraternal Order of Police, tells Independent Journal Review the deadly shooting only adds fuel to the fire in an already “tense” time for police:
“This is a low point in a rapidly deteriorating relationship between police and the minority community. I’m not here to argue that police are perfect. There is a significant fault on both sides.”
Pasco further explains the violent response to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile completely ignores officers' constitutional rights:
“These two shootings were apparently the reason behind the shooting in Dallas, but the perpetrator(s) has totally bypassed due process rights of the officers involved — the same due process rights the victim [of the shooting by police] would have been given had he been apprehended alive.”
But what has Pasco most frustrated is the response from President Obama and the rhetoric used to “pander” to certain communities:
“He gives one speech pandering to minorities after shootings and upsets law enforcement, then does a speech to law enforcement after Dallas, but upsets minorities. Can’t he give ONE inclusive speech for ALL Americans?”
President Obama responded to the deaths of Sterling and Castile Thursday, calling the shootings “symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.”
“Let me just say, even as yesterday I spoke about our need to be concerned as all Americans about racial discrimination in our criminal justice system, I also said our police have an extremely difficult job — and the vast majority do their job in outstanding fashion.”
Pasco says there needs to be “more understanding and empathy to policing” from our national leadership in 2016, but he hasn't been impressed by either of Obama's potential successors:
“Neither candidate has shown an inclusiveness on policing.”
At the end of the day, Pasco believes this tragedy and senseless loss of life is no doubt heartbreaking, but won't affect the way police officers do their jobs:
"Police officers don’t need to be told what to do. They know what they have to do: they have to get out there and behave with the same professionalism and bravery they display every single day. Police officers don’t need to change. If there’s a bad police officer, no one hates him more than good police officers.
We have over 800,000 state and local officers who are going to get up in the morning and do their jobs, just as they did 10 years ago and 5 years ago and the day before Ferguson and the day after Ferguson. They’re going to continue to do their job as best they can."
Pasco doesn't put all of the onus on the police departments or the president, though. He also points to the shift in media coverage, which he argues seems to be increasingly anti-police of late.