DAL­LAS MEMO­RIAL In wake of shoot­ings, Obama calls on Amer­i­cans to re­ject de­spair

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­LENE SU­PERVILLE

DAL­LAS — At a memo­rial for slain po­lice of­fi­cers, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama de­clared Tues­day that a week of deeply trou­bling vi­o­lence has seemed to ex­pose “the deep­est fault lines of our democ­racy.” But he in­sisted the na­tion is not as di­vided as it seems and called on Amer­i­cans to find com­mon ground in sup­port of racial eq­uity and jus­tice.

Obama ac­knowl­edged that Amer­i­cans are un­set­tled by an­other mass shoot­ing and are seek­ing an­swers to the vi­o­lence that has sparked protests in cities and high­lighted the na­tion’s per­sis­tent racial di­vide.

Five Dal­las of­fi­cers were killed last Thurs­day while stand­ing guard as hun­dreds of peo­ple protested the po­lice killings of black men in Louisiana and Min­nesota ear­lier in the week.

“It’s hard not to think some­times that the cen­tre might not hold, that things might get worse,” Obama said. “We must re­ject such de­spair.”

He joined politi­cians, po­lice of­fi­cers and fam­i­lies of the fallen in the wake of the shock­ing slay­ings by a black man who said he wanted re­venge for the killings of blacks by po­lice.

Hamil­ton po­lice were among many po­lice de­part­ments that sent con­do­lences to the Dal­las of­fi­cers.

Our con­do­lences, thoughts, prayers are with the Dal­las Po­lice Depart­ment, the Dal­las Area Rapid Tran­sit, and their fam­i­lies, friends and com­mu­ni­ties.

The chief sent let­ters of con­do­lence and sup­port to the Dal­las Po­lice Depart­ment and the Dal­las Area Rapid Tran­sit last week. In ad­di­tion, The Hamil­ton Po­lice Ser­vice will be low­er­ing its flags at all three of its po­lice sta­tions to half mast on the days of the fu­ner­als for the of­fi­cers who died in the line of duty.

“The soul of our city was pierced,” Dal­las Mayor Mike Rawl­ings said as he wel­comed Obama to the ser­vice. It was or­ga­nized to help com­bat “a com­mon dis­ease” of vi­o­lence and hon­our those who fight it, “our men and women in blue, our peace­mak­ers in blue.”

Rawl­ings spoke steps from five empty chairs and por­traits of the dead of­fi­cers.

A call for na­tional unity and sol­i­dar­ity was re­in­forced by sev­eral speak­ers at the in­ter­faith ser­vice, in­clud­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, a Dal­las res­i­dent, who at­tended with his wife, Laura.

The Oba­mas, the Bushes, Vice-Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and his wife, Jill, and other of­fi­cials on stage held hands in a show of unity as the ser­vice was brought to a close with “The Bat­tle Hymn of the Repub­lic.” Au­di­ence mem­bers also clasped hands dur­ing the song.

The Oba­mas and the Bi­dens were also meet­ing pri­vately with fam­i­lies of the slain of­fi­cers and those who were wounded.

TOM PEN­NING­TON, GETTY IM­AGES

Dal­las Po­lice Chief David Brown de­liv­ers re­marks dur­ing an in­ter­faith memo­rial ser­vice, hon­our­ing five slain po­lice of­fi­cers, at the Mor­ton H. Mey­er­son Sym­phony Cen­ter on Tues­day.

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