President Obama attended a memorial service in Dallas yesterday for the five police officers shot dead during protests last week.
A crowd of 2,000 attended the service, where Mr Obama consoled the families of the dead officers and repeated his calls for progress in the country’s unrelenting issues of gun control, racism and police relations.
The shootings occurred during protests held around the country in response to the killing by police of two African-American men in Minnesota and Louisiana last week. Micah Johnson, a US army veteran who had served in Afghanistan, killed all five officers and wounded seven others. Police said Johnson expressed anger at the recent police shootings and said he wanted to punish police for their treatment of African-Americans.
Mr Obama urged police, protestors and the public to confront a divide in which “none of us are entirely innocent”. He urged Americans to “reject such despair” and insisted “we are not as divided as we seem”.
Mr Obama was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas police chief David Brown and former president George W. Bush, among others.
Mrs Obama and Mr Biden were to meet the victim’s families privately this week while the president meets law enforcement officials and local leaders to discuss how to repair the severely strained relationship between police and the local community. – Samantha Besgrove
Screengrab of President Obama addressing the memorial service from ABC News Youtube account.