Following last night’s (July 7) shooting of 12 police officers and two civilians at a protest of state violence against Black Americans, some people are blaming the Black Lives Matter activist movement for the deaths—most notably former Congressman Joe Walsh, who posted the tweets below, saying “Watch out Obama. Watch out Black Lives Matter punks. Real America is coming after you.” (In the wake of criticsm, Walsh has doubled down on his Twitter feed):
Former one-term Congressman Joe Walsh tonight. He later deleted the ‘This is now war. Watch out Obama’ tweet. pic.twitter.com/Yrg85NgB7a
— Victor Blackwell CNN (@VictorBlackwell) July 8, 2016
And according to Dallas police chief David Brown, the Black suspect who was killed during the standoff, whom news outlets have identified as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, reportedly said he was “upset about Black Lives Matter.”
In response, the organization issued a statement on the shooting. The text is posted below in its entirety:
The Black Lives Matter Network advocates for dignity, justice, and respect.
In the last few days, this country witnessed the recorded murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, the latest victims in this country’s failed policing system. As we have done for decades, we marched and protested to highlight the urgent need to transform policing in America, to call for justice, transparency and accountability, and to demand that Black Lives Matter.
In Dallas, many gathered to do the same, joining in a day of action with friends, family and co-workers. Their efforts were cut short when a lone gunman targeted and attacked 11 police officers, killing five. This is a tragedy–both for those who have been impacted by yesterday’s attack and for our democracy. There are some who would use these events to stifle a movement for change and quicken the demise of a vibrant discourse on the human rights of Black Americans. We should reject all of this.
Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us.