Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on July 8 that “it is more dangerous being black in America.”
His comments come after five officers were killed when sniper fire broke out in an ambush style attack in downtown Dallas at around 8:45 p.m. as hundreds of protesters had gathered to demonstrate against two fatal police shootings this week, those of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and of Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota.
Seven other officers and one civilian were injured in the sniper attack.
A suspect was killed by a robot with a bomb, which police sent into a parking garage. Dallas Police Department Chief David Brown said officers negotiated with the suspect and he “seemed lucid during this negotiation,” but he expressed a wish to kill white people, especially white officers. Three other alleged suspects are in custody.
Gingrich, who is a possible running mate for Donald Trump, told CNN’s Van Jones in a Facebook Live stream.
“It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years, to get a sense of this: If you are a normal white American, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America, and you instinctively under-estimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk,” said Gingrich as he discussed the shootings this week.
The former Georgia congressman said white parents don’t have to teach their kids how to deal with cops the way black parents do.
“It is more dangerous to be black in America,” he said.
“It is more dangerous in that they are substantially more likely to end up in a situation where the police don’t respect you and you could easily get killed. And sometimes for whites it difficult to appreciate how real that is and how it’s an everyday danger,” added Gingrich.
He also talked about how dangerous it is to be a police officer.
“Every time you walk up to a car you could be killed. Every time you go into a building where there’s a robbery you can be killed,” Gingrich said.
“Police lead a life that is as much on the front line of saving civilization as our military but we don’t quite have the same sense of awe, sense of respect, and yet they put their life on the line every day,” he said.
Following the Dallas attack, another police officer was shot at in Valdosta, Georgia. A man identified as Stephen Paul Beck, 22, called 911 and then ambushed Officer Randall Hancock, who responded to the break-in call.
When Hancock got out of the car, Beck struck him at least twice in his protective vest and once beneath the vest in the abdomen area, said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The officer returned fire stopping Beck from firing at him.
Hancock was taken to a hospital and is currently in stable condition, while Beck is in serious condition. Authorities are investigating the incident and do not know the motive of the shooting yet.
Authorities say officers have also been targeted in Tennessee and Missouri in the aftermath of police killings of black men.