Local News

NC NAACP: 'Violence cannot lead us forward'

Posted July 8, 2016 9:05 a.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2016 11:10 a.m. EDT

— In the hours after deadly sniper fire in Dallas, Texas, that left five police officers dead, the president of the North Carolina NAACP decried violence by and against law enforcement officers.

Rev. William Barber, state president of the NC NAACP, said during a news conference in Raleigh that the violence in the United States cannot lead the country forward. The press conference was scheduled to address the shooting deaths of two black men by police in Baton Rouge, La., and St. Paul, Minn., over the previous 48 hours.

"This is violence and death gone wild," Barber said. "This is America in a sense replaying some of its violent past, and in this moment we must mourn for those killed and the families left behind."

Barber said the first person he heard from after both the shootings of the two African-American men and the shooting of police in Dallas was a retired law enforcement officer. The ex-officer was outraged by the killings, Barber said.

"And that's possible," Barber said. "It's possible to have deep concern and deep hurt and deep outrage about both."

Barber said the country must denounce violence. But he also called for federally funded body cameras for police officers; intense screenings of all potential law enforcement officials as well as trials and punishments for those who abuse the position; and a reform of gun laws that limit the ability to own assault weapons.

"This is no time for partisan politics," Barber said. "This is no time for more hateful political rhetoric and policies. This is no time to offer the solution 'More guns will keep us safer.' This is no time to deny racism. And this is no time for misguided disdain for all police. And this is surely no time for more violence."

"Even if we can't fix it all, even if we can't stop all the violence ... if the world is that broken, shouldn't our children at least see us trying to fix it?" Barber asked.