Dallas Police respond after shots were fired at a Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Dallas.


According to Claire Phipps just moments ago we now have 5 dead cops. Just over an hour ago it was only 4?

What is going on?

  • Five police officers have been killed and six more injured after shots were fired during an anti-violence protest in Dallas, Texas, on Thursday evening.
  • Police have been engaged in an armed standoff with a suspect on a second-floor parking lot close to El Centro College. The suspect has fired at police and claims to have placed bombs in the city. Police chief David Brown said:

The suspect we are negotiating with … has told our negotiators that the end is coming and he’s going to hurt and kill more of us … and that there are bombs all over the place, here and downtown.

  • Three other people have been detained by police: a woman who was stopped close to the garage, plus two people who were stopped in a dark Mercedes.
  • Brown said police believed four people had worked together to launch the attack, but he did not speculate on a motive for the shootings. He said the people in custody were not cooperating:

We are waiting for the suspects to break.

  • One civilian was also wounded: Shetamia Taylor, who was attending the protest with her sons, was shot in the leg but her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
  • Mark Hughes, who was pictured holding a long rifle in a photo circulated by the police department, has been released after turning himself in and is not believed to be a suspect.

Updated at 5.43pm AES

And according to another article all three people killed by the Baton Rouge Police Department since June 2015 have been black men, according to figures compiled by the Counted, a database from the Guardian that has tracked officer-involved killings in the United States over the past two years.

Alton Sterling, 37, became the latest victim Tuesday when two police officers wrestled him to the ground and shot him multiple times in the chest and back.

In a city where black people make up less than half of the population — 45%, according to U.S. Census data — black men’s dramatic overrepresentation among those killed by police mirrors a pattern nationwide that has fueled the Black Lives Matter movement.

Black people across the U.S. face hugely disproportionate rates of police violence: According to the Guardian, black people were more than twice as likely to be killed by law enforcement than white people in 2015.

Black people make up 45% of Baton Rouge’s population, but 100% of people killed by police since the start of 2015

The two black men killed in Baton Rouge before Sterling were Kevin Bajoie, 32, and Calvin Smith, 22. Bajoie died June 20, 2015 after four officers responded to reports of a fight near Southern University and found him lying on the floor of a nearby home. Bajoie, who was unarmed, allegedly got up and attacked the officers, who then used their stun guns on the 32-year-old.

He died at the hospital soon after. A coroner ruled Bajoie’s death “accidental” and caused by drugs — methamphetamine, amphetamine and synthetic marijuana were found in his system — but according to the Guardian, another coroner’s official said it was “possible the Taser contributed.” Bajoie’s family is now suing the Baton Rouge Police Department, saying the officers’ use of their stun guns was responsible for his death.

On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, a father of five, was selling CDs outside a convenience store when two officers tried to detain him. During a scuffle caught on cell phone video, the officers tackled Sterling to the ground and shot him multiple times while they had him pinned down. Sterling allegedly had a gun in his pocket, but Abdullah Muflahi, the convenience store’s clerk and owner who witnessed the incident, claimed he was not reaching for it at the time.

“They were really aggressive with him from the start,” Muflahi told the Advocate.

In Louisiana, it is legal for people to carry concealed firearms with a state-issued permit.

Sterling’s death has sparked demonstrations in Baton Rouge and outrage on social media. His case is one of many that has generated such a response over the past two years, but little has indicated police are slowing down. The federal government only tracks officer-involved killings using data given to them on a voluntary basis by police departments, but according to the Guardian, 1,146 people were killed by police in the U.S. in 2015, and 558 people have been killed this year so far.

Meanwhile, Sterling is the 114th black person shot and killed by U.S. law enforcement in 2016. Along with Bajoie and Smith, he is one of the three people Baton Rouge police have killed since the start of 2015. All three are black men — suggesting that the Louisiana city is far from immune to the same patterns that define interactions between black communities and police across the country.

The Justice Department has since opened a civil rights investigation into Sterling’s death.

Learn and Live

 

Summer of Chaos in July —

This is a video from the 14th June 2016

 

Dallas Police shield bystanders during a Black Live Matter rally in downtown Dallas.

Photo: Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News

Dallas Police shield bystanders during a Black Live Matter rally in downtown Dallas. 

Earlier, the Dallas Police Department released an image of a “person of interest” who was wanted over the shooting, pictured wearing a camouflage t-shirt. However, it is not believed this man was involved in the shooting.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) said one of its police officers was among the dead, and three other of its officers who were shot had injuries that were not life-threatening.

The protest was being held following the deaths of two men – Alton Sterling in Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Minnesota – in separate police shootings this week. The men, who were both black, were killed by police officers, and their deaths were captured on mobile phone cameras.

The shooting unfolded near one of the busiest parts of the city’s downtown.

Footage of the panic in the moments immediately after the shooting circulated widely on social media. In many of the videos, multiple gunshots could be heard ringing out, while teams of police officers could be seen running through the area.

“There’s no indication of who the suspects are or what their motives were, except they fired on the police,” said Clay Jenkins, the Dallas County judge and the county’s chief executive.

“We are still seeking a suspect that may be held up at a downtown building, so we’re asking the public to stay away. All government buildings in that area are on lockdown. That’s the government centre where this is happening.”

The Dallas Police Department’s Twitter account had been tracking the protest’s progress through the city, but abruptly stopped tweeting about 9pm, local time.

CBS news anchor Doug Dunbar tweeted that a witness reported hearing “about 20 shots in succession”.

Dozens of officers were at the scene “with their guns drawn”, Dunbar said.

Another witness, Michael Bautista, said he saw one police officer on the ground as he fled the scene.

“I saw the bullets hitting the cop cars,” he said.

He said the protesters had been involved in a “peaceful march” before the shooting occurred.

Devante Odom, 21, told The Dallas Morning News that everyone “just started running” when the shots were fired. “We lost touch with two of our friends just trying to get out of there,” Devante said.

Renee Sifflet of Dallas stood at the corner of Commerce and Houston, waiting for the chaos to die down so she could retrieve her three teenage children, who were in hiding.

“I brought them here for a positive experience, something they could say they were part of when they’re older,” she said. “Then it turned negative.”

When they started running, she said, she lost track of her 15-year-old son for two minutes in the mayhem. “Thank God he has a cellphone,” she said.

Carlos Harris, who lives downtown, said the shooters “were strategic. It was tap tap pause. Tap tap pause.”

Harris, who said he was in the military, said he heard someone fire back with an AR-15.

Before the shots were fired, the demonstrators were peacefully walking down Main Street.

“The cops were peaceful,” he said. “They were taking pictures with us and everything.”

More to come

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