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  Barack Obama pays tribute to officers killed in Dallas racial attack

Barack Obama pays tribute to officers killed in Dallas racial attack

PTI
Published : Jul 14, 2016, 6:52 am IST
Updated : Jul 14, 2016, 6:52 am IST

Jill Biden (from left), vice-president Joe Biden, former First Lady Laura Bush, former President George W. Bush, First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama attend a memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Centre for fallen police officers in Dallas. (Photo: AP)

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Jill Biden (from left), vice-president Joe Biden, former First Lady Laura Bush, former President George W. Bush, First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama attend a memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Centre for fallen police officers in Dallas. (Photo: AP)

President Barack Obama urged Americans rattled by a week of violence and protests to find “open hearts” and new empathy in a speech that seesawed between honouring police officers for their bravery and decrying racial prejudice that can affect their work.

 

Mr Obama on Tuesday spoke near five empty chairs for the police officers killed last week by a black man seeking vengeance for police killings.

Behind him, unde-rscoring his message of unity: Dallas police officers, a racially diverse church choir and local officials who ranged from black police chief David Brown to former President George W. Bush, a Dallas resident.

Mr Obama sought to reassure the nation that he understands the impact of the unsettling events of the past week — including the killing of two black men by police officers, as well as the Dallas attacks.

Disturbing videos of the events have “left us wounded and angry and hurt,” he said.

 

“It is as if the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened.”

Undaunted, the President urged Americans to cast aside such doubt and replace it with faith in the nation’s institutions and progress.

“Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair. I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know that because I know America. I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds,” he said.

The President spoke steps away from the chairs left empty for the five men killed last Thursday, while protecting hundreds of people protesting the killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

 

The Army veteran killed by the police after the Dallas attack said he was motivated by revenge.

“The soul of our city was pierced,” mayor Mike Rawlings said, as he welcomed the President and a line of public officials, including Mr Bush, who attended with his wife, Laura, vice-president Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, and police chief Brown.

Location: United States, Texas, Dallas