RALEIGH (WTVD) --North Carolina NAACP President William Barber called the shooting of Dallas police officers a tragedy Friday.
"Killers, murderers, hijacked a peaceful protest and used it as a staging ground to kill and target police," said Barber. "These police were doing their jobs. They were watching over children and families."
Speaking at a news conference in Raleigh, Barber appeared shaken by the events of the last 72 hours - including the killing of two black men, Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota, by police officers this week and then Thursday night's sniper attack on police protecting people demonstrating against those shootings.
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"In less than 72 hours, we've seen two lives, two souls, of black men dead. Now we see five lives, five souls of policemen dead and many others wounded," said Barber. "The sounds of bullets, the pictures of death and violence, we're seeing it too much. Rather than love and humanity we're seeing death and inhumanity."
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Barber called for a return to one of the founding principles of the NAACP: nonviolence.
"Whether it's the violence and terror by those who misuse the badge or the violence and terror against those who wear the badge and are doing their sworn duty, it is wrong. Violence will only beget more violence," said Barber.
Barber said in America we "have to have some frank, level-headed, dealing with the realities that are in our midst."
"We must deal with the reality of police brutality and shootings and wrongful death of far too many black and brown and poor people and the data-driven truth about racial disparity in the criminal justice system. We can't push it under the rug. We can't deny it. We have to have federal protection. We need federally-funded body cameras. It shouldn't be optional. We have to have intense screening of anyone hired to be a police person because we can only give the badge and gun to those who meet the highest standards and have the highest regard for all human beings regardless of their race, their creed, their class, or their sexuality. And when necessary we have to have real trials, real consequences, for those who misuse the badge in order to protect those who use the badge properly," he offered.
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Barber said if we don't address some of those issues he worries about where we go from here.
"This is violence and death gone wild," said Barber. "In this moment we must denounce violence and embrace nonviolence. Violence cannot lead us forward."
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