Democrat Rep. G.K. Butterfield blamed Republicans for the five officers who were massacred by a racially motivated gunman in Dallas Thursday night.
“The Republicans in Congress are refusing to address gun violence in America that targets black men and black women and Hispanic men and Hispanic women and, yes, even police officers,” Butterfield said while flanked by other members of the Congressional Black Caucus — just hours after five officers were shot and killed while trying to protect protestors who were rallying against police brutality.
One gunman, who is now dead, has been identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, a 25-year-old Army veteran with no apparent ties to terrorist groups nor criminal record. Johnson told authorities during the standoff he was specifically targeting white police officers, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said in a press conference Friday morning.
“The suspect said he wanted to kill white people,” Brown said. “Especially white officers.”
Despite the suspected gunman’s racial motivations, which he made clear in his own words to authorities during the standoff, Butterfield insisted Republican members of Congress were responsible for the tragedy.
Butterfield also suggested more tragedies will occur in the immediate future if Republicans don’t pass more gun control legislation.
“If we fail to act, this will be a long, hot summer,” he said.
At the time of publication, little is known about the suspect. The weapon used has yet to be revealed, as is whether the gunman obtained it legally or illegally.
‘We need legislative action now. We don’t need to leave the Hill this week or any week without assuring the American people that we understand the problem of police misconduct in America. We understand the murders of innocent black Americans. We get it. We understand the problems faced by our law enforcement officers and I don’t want to diminish that in this conversation today. We understand the problems faced by law enforcement officers, most of whom put on the uniform every day and serve and protect our communities.
‘Republicans, what on Earth — why are you recoiling and not giving us a debate on gun violence? Why not give it a hearing? Give us a debate. Give us an up or down vote on legislation on gun violence. Why? Last night while on the floor, we were advised that several hundred protesters were en route to the Capitol, demonstrating and protesting and exercising the First Amendment rights, their First Amendment rights by demanding that we as elected officials protect their sons and daughters and their grandsons and granddaughters, their brothers and their sisters.
‘At 10:00 PM, the Congressional Black Caucus, along with other members from other caucuses, went outside of the Capitol and we met the demonstrators. We spoke to them. We embraced them. And we helped lead their march to the White House. They told us with unambiguous clarity that Black Lives Matter, that the movement is serious, it is organized and they demand legislative action now. And that we don’t leave this place until it’s done.
‘I applaud —we applaud the demonstrators last night for telling us the deaths of Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights gives them the energy and determination they need to pull off the band aid of the stain of irresponsible police killings in America. The two acts of murder this week that we all so sadly know must be addressed by law enforcement. It must be addressed by the Congress of the United States.
‘If we fail to act, this will be a long hot summer. In the rally audience last evening, a young lady held up a sign that read, ‘I wept more last night than I slept.’ Colleagues, America is weeping. They are angry. They are frustrated. And Congress, when I say Congress, I mean the Republicans in Congress, are refusing to address gun violence in America that targets black men and black women and Hispanic men and Hispanic women and, yes, even police officers.
The Congressional Black Caucus is frustrated. You want to say we’re mad, we’re mad. We are determined to take our advocacy now to a higher level.’