WASHINGTON: Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday praised the five Dallas cops slain at a demonstration against police brutality, and also urged Americans to rally against disparities in the US criminal justice system.
The message comes after days of marches in US cities over the deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The two African-American men were killed by police, and mobile phone video footage of their final moments went viral online.
“As Americans, we are wounded by all of these deaths,” said Biden, filling in for Barack Obama for the president’s weekly radio address. Obama is currently traveling in Europe.
“It’s on all of us to stand up, to speak out about disparities in our criminal justice system — just as it’s on all of us to stand up for the police who protect us in our communities every day,” he said.
Biden praised the slain officers as people who joined the force because they thought “they could help, that they should serve, that they had a duty”.
“So when an assassin’s bullet targeted the police force in Dallas, it touched the soul of the nation,” he said.
The five cops and seven other wounded officers “were protecting the safety of those who were peacefully protesting against racial injustices in the criminal justice system. Those who were marching against the kind of shocking images we saw in St. Paul and Baton Rouge — and have seen too often elsewhere — of too many black lives lost.”
These lives “will only be redeemed by the courage of our actions that honor their memories”.
“So while we’re being tested, we can’t be pulled apart. We are America, with bonds that hold us together. We endure, we persevere, we overcome, we stand together,” he said.
The man suspected of shooting the Texas officers, as well as two civilians who were wounded, was identified as Dallas area resident Micah Johnson, 25.
The suspect, a black army veteran who said he was bent on killing white cops, was killed after a long standoff with police. -AFP