- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 28, 2016

Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Attorney General Loretta Lynch will speak at a vigil Thursday afternoon for the three law enforcement officers gunned down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by a man who intentionally targeted police.

The following day, the Justice Department will also meet with Baton Rouge first responders and will host a roundtable event with local leaders as part of an effort to defuse tensions within the community.

Thursday’s vigil ceremony will honor slain Baton Rouge Police Officers Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald, and East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola. Three other law enforcement officers were shot and injured during the July 17 attack.

Authorities said the lone gunman, 29-year-old Gavin Long, “intentionally targeted and assassinated” the officers. Long, whose exact motivations are still under investigation, was killed by tactical officers who responded to the scene.

Two weeks before the attack, Baton Rouge became a hotbed of turmoil between police and the black community after a black man, Alton Sterling, was fatally shot by city police officers. The July 5 shooting sparked a wave of protests in the city after cellphone videos of his death circulated online.

The 2 p.m. vigil will be held at Healing Place Church. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will also speak.

Ms. Lynch and other Justice Department officials, including Paul Monteiro, director of the DOJ’s Community Relations Service; Vanita Gupta, head of the of the Civil Rights Division; and Ron Davis, director of Office of Community Oriented Policing Services will also be on hand for a roundtable event Friday.

The DOJ uses its Community Relations Service division to defuse community tensions that arise out of conflicts involving race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability. The division is not involved in investigations or prosecutions, but rather is brought in to facilitate meetings between all involved parties and to devise solutions to problems in the community.

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