(CNSNews.com) – Attorney General Loretta Lynch responded to Thursday night’s fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers by calling for calm in the wake of two recent fatal police-involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and saying the U.S. needs to “take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers get their hands on deadly weapons.”
“We must continue working to guarantee every person in this country equal justice under the law, and we must take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers get their hands on deadly weapons and the frequency with which they use them,” Lynch said.
Lynch said the DOJ, FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshal Service, and U.S. Attorney’s officer are on the scene in Dallas helping their state and local counterparts with the investigation into the police officers’ shootings.
“We intend to provide any assistance that we can to investigate this attack and also to help heal a community that has been severely shaken and deeply scarred by an unfathomable tragedy. This is an unfolding situation. We’ll be providing additional information when it is available and appropriate, but more so, this has been a week of profound grief and heartbreaking loss,” Lynch said.
A black motorist in Minnesota, Philando Castile, was killed Wednesday after police stopped him for a broken tail light. His girlfriend streamed video of the aftermath of his shooting live on Facebook, the Associated Press reported. Castile’s death comes one day after a man in Baton Rouge was killed after a scuffle with police who confronted him outside a convenience store. Portions of Alton Sterling’s encounter was also caught on video.
“The peaceful protest that was planned in Dallas last night was organized in response to the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, and we’ve opened a civil rights investigation in Louisiana, and we are providing assistance to local authorities in Minnesota, who are leading the investigation there,” Lynch said.
“And today, we are feeling the devastating loss of Dallas Area Rapid Transit Officer Brent Thompson and four other fallen officers, whose names remain unreleased as we await notification to all of the families,” she added.
“Now after the events of this week, Americans across our country are feeling a sense of helplessness, of uncertainty, and of fear. These feelings are understandable, and they are justified, but the answer must not be violence. The answer is never violence,” Lynch said. “Rather, the answer, our answer, all our answer must be action – calm, peaceful, collaborative, and determined action.
“We must continue working to build trust between communities and law enforcement. We must continue working to guarantee every person in this country equal justice under the law, and we must take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers get their hands on deadly weapons and the frequency with which they use them,” she said.
“We must reflect on the kind of country that we want to build and the kind of society that we are choosing to pass on to our children, and above all, we must reject the easy impulses of bitterness and rancor and embrace the difficult work, but the important work, the vital work of finding a path forward together. And above everything, we must remind ourselves that we’re all Americans and that as Americans, we share not just a common land, but a common life – not just common goals, but a common heart and soul,” Lynch added.
“To our brothers and sisters who wear the badge, I want you to know that I am deeply grateful that the difficult and dangerous work you do every day to keep our streets safe and our nation secure,” Lynch said. “Our hearts are broken by this loss, and the Department of Justice will do all that we can to support you in the days ahead.”
Lynch also assured protesters that their constitutional right to free speech and assembly would be protected.
"And to those who seek to improve our country through peaceful protest and protected speech. I want you to know that your voice is important. Do not be discouraged by those who would use your lawful actions as a cover for their heinous violence. We will continue to safeguard your constitutional rights and to work with you in the difficult mission of building a better nation and a brighter future,” she said.
“And to all Americans, I ask you. I implore you. Do not let this week precipitate a new normal in this country. I ask you to turn to each other not against each other as we move forward. Let us support one another. Let us help heal one another. And I urge you to remember today and every day that we are one nation. We are one people, and we stand together,” Lynch concluded.