Maryland officials react to Dallas police shooting

The Baltimore Sun

Maryland officials responded Friday to the shooting death of five police officers and the wounding of seven others in Dallas, where a protest about recent police shootings elsewhere was being held Thursday. These are their full statements:

Gov. Larry Hogan: "This morning, I share in the grief and heartbreak that burdens members of our law enforcement community as well as millions of Americans across the country. Yesterday's senseless violence and the shocking death of five police officers in Dallas was a tragedy unlike anything our country has witnessed in recent years.

"The city of Dallas will be holding a moment of silence at 1pm ET today, and I am urging all Marylanders to stand with the people of Texas at that time. Let us mourn the deaths of those who put their lives on the line to keep Dallas safe; let us pray for the safety of the men and women in blue all across the country; and let us take time today and every day to thank our brave officers for their service and reassure them that they do not stand alone.

"In Maryland and across the country, the obvious tensions between communities and law enforcement are real and cannot be ignored or swept under the rug. But there is so much more that unites us than divides us. Now is clearly a time for profound sorrow, but also for reflection, understanding and above all, compassion.

"The First Lady and I send our most sincere thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, as well as to those officers recovering from this horrific shooting."

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake: "My thoughts are with the City of Dallas and Mayor Mike Rawlings. Yesterday's peaceful demonstration against police brutality turned violent when five brave officers were senselessly killed. Amid a painful week of life loss in cities across our country, violence in any form is unacceptable. I offer my deepest condolences to the family members of the officers, the law enforcement community, and every citizen affected by these events."

U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski: "I join Maryland and the nation in offering my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the officers killed and injured in the line of duty and the civilians caught in the crossfire last night in Dallas.

"Each and every day, our law enforcement officers report for duty not knowing what dangers they may face. Men and women in blue put their lives on the line to keep our families and communities safe. I thank officers across the country for their service.

"Like all Americans, I am deeply concerned about racial disparities in our criminal justice system and about gun violence in our communities, our schools and our churches. Police officers have a difficult job and the vast majority serve in an outstanding and honorable manner.

"As we grieve with the families of the victims and struggle to understand this tragedy, we should lift up our voices in a unified call for peace."

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen: "Our hearts break for the police and transit officers killed and wounded in Dallas, their families, and the entire community which just wanted to peacefully exercise its right to free speech. This heinous act against those who face danger every day should unite all Americans to bring the perpetrators to justice and take urgent action to confront hate and gun violence in America."

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis: "I am shocked and saddened about the events that played out in Dallas last night. The Baltimore Police Department offers its heartfelt thoughts and condolences to the men and women of the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

"We must not confuse peaceful protest with violent crime. The crime in Dallas is not representative of the overwhelmingly peaceful protests we frequently facilitate in Baltimore. Here in Baltimore, we have worked to develop relationships with activists and protesters. Those who choose to commit crimes in the name of protest are only detracting form the mission of creating a safer city where everyone's rights are protected. Activists and protesters share the same concerns and do not wish to be associated with violence.

"Protests are scheduled in Baltimore for today. As we have done throughout the past year, we will work to protect protesters' 1st amendment rights. The safety of our officers and protesters is paramount. It is up to all of us, collectively, to ensure a safe atmosphere. It is more important now than ever that we promote open lines of communication as we work together for the greater good.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Police Chief Gary Gardner and Howard County NAACP President David Steele: "We in Howard County are heartbroken over the deadly attack on police officers in Dallas, just as we recognize the need for continued review of police actions in agencies around the nation. There are no 'sides' here. There are just people … with families, friends, children and loved ones."

The statement pointed to police programs initiated in the county in the last year to improve communication and to help build trust with the community, as well as "new and expanded training in our police academy and in-service training."

"We are fortunate in Howard County to have a community that is supportive of its police department. We must join together, rely on each other, and recognize there is more that brings us together than divides us."

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