- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2016

President Obama on Friday condemned the “despicable” murders of five police officers in Dallas, saying there’s no justification for the shootings.

“There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” Mr. Obama said at a summit in Warsaw, Poland. “These law enforcement officers were targeted. We are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas.”

The president, who hours earlier had criticized police bias against minorities in two high-profile shootings of civilians, said the ambush of the officers in Dallas “is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices they make for us.”

Mr. Obama spoke by phone with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, offering the nation’s “deepest condolences” and the assistance of the federal government.

“The entire city of Dallas is grieving,” Mr. Obama said. “I ask all Americans to say a prayer for these officers and their families. There’s no possible justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement.”

Five police officers were killed and six others were wounded by snipers Thursday night at the conclusion of a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas. Police said at least two suspects took part in the ambush; one died later during a standoff with police in a parking garage.

The president said the tragedy underscores the need for gun control.

“We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately, it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic,” Mr. Obama said. “In the days ahead, we’re going to have to consider those realities as well.”

The president tried to soften his earlier criticism of police practices in the U.S., saying, “As a nation, let’s remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women in blue not just today, but every day.”

Mr. Obama didn’t say whether he might cut short his trip to Europe, which is scheduled to last until Monday.

On Thursday night, Mr. Obama had criticized police bias against minorities, addressing the fatal shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

“All of us as Americans should be troubled by these shootings, because these are not isolated incidents,” Mr. Obama said of the civilians’ deaths. “There are [police] biases — some conscious and unconscious — that have to be rooted out. That’s not an attack on law enforcement.”

The president acknowledged that when he speaks out about police shootings of minorities, he hears objections from law-enforcement officials.

“I get letters — well-meaning letters sometimes — from law enforcement saying, ‘How come we’re under attack? How come not as much emphasis is made when police officers are shot?’ ” Mr. Obama said. “When people say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ that doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter; it just means all lives matter.”

He told law-enforcement officers, “We know you have a tough job. We mourn those in uniform who are protecting us who lose their lives.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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