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Police Swipe at Obama Over Tensions

ridgewood police

file photo by Boyd Loving
Some law enforcement officials say president has helped sow distrust between police and minorities



July 10, 2016 8:04 p.m. ET

As President Barack Obama prepares to head to Dallas on Tuesday after the deadly shooting of five policemen, he faces criticism from some law enforcement officials that he has helped inflame tensions between police and minority communities.

The White House said Sunday Mr. Obama would speak in Dallas, at the invitation of the mayor, at an interfaith memorial service to commemorate the attack’s victims.

The president has tried to walk a fine line between acknowledging the grievances of activists protesting police shootings of black suspects, and trying to cool some of the anger directed at police officers. Now he also faces complaints that he is partly to blame for creating a culture that some police say demonizes officers.

“The man responsible for the murders [in Dallas] was Micah Johnson, but having said that, I do think the president by his inaction has contributed to a climate where these things can happen,” William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, which represents about 240,000 law enforcement officers, said Sunday. “This president and his administration absolutely do not have our back and make our jobs more dangerous.”

Earlier last week, Mr. Obama said that complaints by activists and minority-community members about police violence had a legitimate basis. Mr. Obama said the recent police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota should trouble all Americans “because these are not isolated incidents.”