Obama to address a divided nation at Dallas memorial service
DALLAS – President Barack Obama will address a memorial service in Dallas on Tuesday for five policemen killed last week in a sniper attack, as he seeks to repair social divisions inflamed by the deadliest day for US law enforcement in more than a decade.
US Army veteran Micah Johnson gunned down the officers during a march in the city on Thursday in retribution for police killings of black people, before being killed by an explosive-laden robot detonated by officers.
Obama cut short a European trip following the attack and the shootings days earlier by police of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota which prompted the Dallas march and similar protests in other US cities.
“The President recognises that it’s not just people in Dallas who are grieving, but people all across the country who are concerned about the violence that so many Americans have witnessed in the last week or so,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told a press briefing on Monday.
Obama, who reiterated a call for stricter gun control following the Dallas assault, will also meet the families of the slain policemen and others who were wounded, the White House said on Sunday.
Nine officers and two civilians were also wounded in Johnson’s ambush.
The police death toll was the highest on a single day in America since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, when 72 officers died, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The president will deliver his address at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center during a private memorial service where former president George W. Bush is also scheduled to speak.
On Wednesday, Obama will host a meeting with law enforcement officials, activists and civil rights leaders to discuss ways to repair “the bonds of trust” between communities and police, the White House said on Monday. -Reuters