As President Obama offers a healing message today to the grieving citizens of Dallas, his administration is trying to heal its relationship with police who have felt aggrieved long before five officers were assassinated by a man claiming solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, Politico reports. Obama, who yesterday called the Dallas shootings a “hate crime,” has the task of renewing earlier efforts to eliminate bias and cut down on aggressive policing while confronting the fatal consequences, even for good cops, of the roiling distrust in the communities they serve.
Obama will appear with Vice President Joe Biden and former President George W. Bush.
Many officers believe that Obama has helped fuel the perception that they’re all prone to racism and overreaction, according to some union representatives who met with him and Biden yesterday. “As I said to the president, optics and perception cannot become reality, and we leaders can’t let it become reality,” said Jonathan Thompson of the National Sheriffs’ Association, one of eight law enforcement groups at the meeting. After the massacre of five police officers in Dallas, William Johnson of the National Association of Police Organizations blamed Obama for a “war on cops.” Jim Pasco of the Fraternal Order of Police said his members complained of an imbalance in Obama’s responses to last week’s tragedies.