Jul 08 2016
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minn.
“This week’s tragic events in Dallas, Baton Rouge and St. Paul call upon all of us to not only mourn but also recommit ourselves to healing our communities. Our country weeps at the profound, senseless losses we’ve suffered.
“In Dallas, five police officers were killed in the line of duty and seven others were wounded. These officers were targeted because of their uniforms and their decisions to serve their community.
“These officers were just doing their jobs, ensuring demonstrators could peacefully express themselves in a safe environment. By all accounts, the protests were indeed peaceful. Officers were interacting with the community—even taking photos with demonstrators. But then they were ambushed, shot, killed. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the city of Dallas.
“I also mourn the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Sterling, a father of five, was shot multiple times and killed while being held down by police outside a convenience store. The day following the shooting, Alton’s 15-year old son sobbed, calling out for his father.
“Philando Castile, a beloved employee at a local elementary school, was shot multiple times and killed during a routine traffic stop. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year old daughter watched in horror as Philando bled to death in the driver’s seat. Parents and staff at the school have recounted that Philando memorized the names of the children he served, greeting them every morning with a hug and smile.
“The footage captured this week shows that police interact differently with individuals in some communities. Too often, everyday encounters result in tragedy. We must acknowledge that and do something about it. I strongly support a full, but rapid federal investigation into these shooting deaths, and I understand the Justice Department has opened an investigation into the shooting of Mr. Sterling.
“I also echo what the Dallas police chief said this morning, that the ‘divisiveness between our police and our citizens’ must stop.
“The only way to stop this divisiveness is to confront it and work through it together. While every community is different, I believe it is incumbent on all leaders—mayors, police chiefs, clergy, leaders of organizations and other community leaders—to work together in their communities.
“It’s extremely difficult, but something must be done. I’m reminded of the day that George Moscone and Harvey Milk were brutally murdered. It was the darkest day of my life.
“After former Supervisor Dan White was sentenced for those murders, San Francisco was at its breaking point. Our community was filled with grief and torn apart by hate and a lack of trust. There was a riot. Stores were looted and burned. Police cars were destroyed by Molotov cocktails and officers were assaulted.
“Healing our community took a tremendous amount of work and effort by all sides. When I was mayor, we formed a task force and met every week—police officers, leaders of the gay community, public officials and religious leaders.
“We talked. We worked through deep pain. We instituted changes in our community and emerged stronger. I believe the communities affected by this week’s shootings—indeed the entire country—can also emerge stronger, if we join together.”