At a Friday morning press conference, N.C. NAACP President William Barber condemned the acts of “killers, murderers [that] hijacked a peaceful protest and used it as a staging ground to kill and target police. These police were doing their jobs. They were watching over children and families.”
Barber’s reaction to the Thursday night sniper attack at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas that left five police officers dead and seven people wounded also addressed the reasons for that protest: recent police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, outside Minneapolis.
“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.”
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.
“We’re in a Shakespearean moment,” he continued. “This is a Shakespearean tragedy. You couldn’t write this—that this would happen in seventy-two hours. This is violence and death gone wild.”
Barber called for a higher standard for police hirings and conduct nationwide, and a federally mandated use of police body cameras.