A trauma surgeon, who worked ER on the night of the Dallas attack in which five officers were killed, has spoken of his experience that night and about his personal struggle with America’s racial divide, during a press conference at Parkland Memorial Hospital on July 11.
Dr. Brian H. Williams was visibly emotional when speaking to the media about the night of the shooting on July 7, the night a shooter opened fire in downtown Dallas. Seven officers with gunshot injuries were taken to the hospital–three died.
“I think about it everyday that I was unable to save those cops when they came here that night. It weighs on my mind constantly,” said Williams.
“I stand with the Dallas police department, I stand with law enforcement all over this country. This experience has been very personal for me and a turning point in my life,” he said.
Williams, an African-American man, spoke on the racial divide, following the recent fatal police shootings of two black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
“We routinely care for multiple gunshot victims but the preceding days of more black men dying at the hands of police officers affected me,” Williams said, “but I am in horror of what has been done to these officers and I grieve with their families.”
Dr. Williams: “I support you, I will defend you, I will care for you. That doesn’t mean that I do not fear you.” https://t.co/EPj5XP3tTk
— CNN (@CNN) July 11, 2016
Williams says he has personally feared for his safety when interacting with police and says he understands “the anger and the frustration and distrust of law enforcement.”
“But they are not the problem,” he said. “The problem is the lack of open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country.”
Williams called for an end to violence against blacks and police.
“This killing, it has to stop. Black men dying and being forgotten, people retaliating against people who have sworn to defend us. We have to come together and end all this,” he said.
The trauma surgeon has a daughter and says he is teaching her how to respect police. Williams says he does simple things around her, such as picking up tabs and buying ice cream for police officers.
“I want my daughter to see me interacting with police that way so she doesn’t grow up with the same burden that I carry when it comes with interacting with law enforcement, and I also want the police to see me, a black man, and understand that I support you, I will defend you, I will care for you. That doesn’t mean that I do not fear you,” he said.
Captain Dan Birbeck of the Dallas County Hospital District Police says the Dallas attack was the worst thing he has ever seen in his 20-year law enforcement career.
“I think we all know that when we do this job there’s a chance we may not come home,” said Birbeck. “It became real that night for our guys.”
“It’s shaken us, it’s shaken me to the core,” said Birbeck, who works in the hospital’s ER.
Authorities identified the shooter as 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a U.S. army veteran.
Dallas Police Department Chief David Brown says authorities are downloading over 170 hours of bodycam footage, as well as collecting dashcam videos, and footage from surrounding businesses. The videos will hopefully give officials a timestamp of the entire incident, Brown said. Detectives are reviewing over 300 statements on the attack, and some officers have yet to give their declarations. Dallas police and the FBI are working to find out what “RB” means, which was written in blood by the suspect on the wall in two different locations in El Centro College.
Five police officers were killed, nine were injured by either gunfire or fragmentation of bullets. Four of the injured were from the Dallas Police Department, three were DART officers, and two were officers from the El Centro College.
The funeral notices of the slain officers have been released.