As the nation continues to engage in a sprawling debate centered on police violence, racism and gun control, we have another shooting to ponder. On July 17, a gunman shot six police officers in Baton Rouge, killing three. The shooting comes in the aftermath of the high profile deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith and Lorne Ahrens.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the gunman has been identified as Gavin Eugene Long, a Black 29-year-old Marine Corp veteran from Kansas City, Missouri, who reportedly used the online alias “Cosmo Setenepra.” He was killed at the scene of the shooting. The victims were: East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, who was White; Matthew Gerald, a White 41-year-old officer who worked with the Baton Rouge Police Department; and Montrell Jackson, a Black 32-year-old officer with the the same department.
In a now viral Facebook post dated July 8, Jackson lamented the current relationship between some Baton Rouge citizens and officers, as well as the space he occupies as a Black man and a police officer in the city where officers Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni killed Sterling:
I’m tired physically and emotionally. Disappointed in some family, friends, and officers for some reckless comments but hey what’s in your heart is in your heart. I still love you all because hate takes too much energy but I definitely won’t be looking at you the same. Thank you to everyone that has reached out to me or my wife it was needed and much appreciated. I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat. I’ve experienced so much in my short life and these last 3 days have tested me to the core. When people you know begin to question your integrity you realize they don’t really know you at all. Look at my actions they speak LOUD and CLEAR. Finally I personally want to send prayers out to everyone directly affected by this tragedy. These are trying times. Please don’t let hate infect your heart. This city MUST and WILL get better. I’m working in these streets so any protestors, officers, friends, family, or whoever, if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer. I got you.
The reaction to yesterday’s shooting was swift and wide ranging. From presidential statements to Twitter missives, here are the reactions you need to see today.
President Barack Obama:
I condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault. These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop. I’ve offered my full support, and the full support of the federal government, to Governor Edwards, Mayor Holden, the Sheriff’s Office and the Baton Rouge Police Department. And make no mistake—justice will be done. We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: there is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None. These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas—they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now—all of us—to be at our best. Today, on the Lord’s day, all of us stand united in prayer with the people of Baton Rouge, with the police officers who’ve been wounded, and with the grieving families of the fallen. May God bless them all.
Baton Rouge Mayor Mike Rawlings:
Quinyetta McMillon (mother of Cameron Sterling):
— Elizabeth Crisp (@elizabethcrisp) July 17, 2016
Louisianna Senator David Vitter:
Murderous attack in Baton Rouge just horrible. Praying for the officers and families. Blue lives matter. All lives matter.
— David Vitter (@DavidVitter) July 17, 2016
Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton:
Hillary’s statement on the shooting in Baton Rouge. pic.twitter.com/4a0MVF3025
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 17, 2016
Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump:
Law Professor Khaled Bey
- Systemic police violence
- Segregation and poverty
— Khaled Bey (@KhaledBeydoun) July 17, 2016
Black Lives Matter:
“We hope the #BatonRouge community finds solace, healing, and safety in one another.
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) July 17, 2016
“Decoded” Host Franchesca Ramsey:
when we have video of a cop killing someone it’s “wait for the facts” when a cop is killed y’all just know for certain it’s BLM? oh ok.
— Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) July 17, 2016
Activist Feminista Jones:
Incredibly irresponsible for CNN to perpetuate the rhetoric that ppl are “targeting” or “attacking” police “all around the country
— Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones) July 18, 2016
Comedian W. Kamau Bell:
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) July 18, 2016
Journalist Roland Martin:
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) July 18, 2016
Journalist Shaun King:
Blaming the #BlackLivesMatter Movement for violence would be like blaming libraries for illiteracy rates or fire departments for fires.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) July 17, 2016
And then there is this set of facts complied by The Washington Post:
— PMbeers (@PMbeers) July 18, 2016