Reid: The Senate Must Stand With Both Dallas Police And Peaceful Protestors Calling For Change

“Today, before we adjourn, the Senate will unanimously pass a resolution condemning last week’s violent attack in Dallas. This attack was on the police officers of the Dallas community, and of course other law enforcement agencies were also targeted, but the people killed were Dallas police officers.”

“We can support the police officers of America –  men and women – and we can mourn those who have fallen and honor their bravery, while also acknowledging that we must do better in preventing the senseless killings of people of color.”

“There are many victims here, be they law enforcement officers or innocent people of color. They all deserve to be acknowledged. But, as has been said by a number of people here the last few days, we can’t sweep these problems that we have under the rug.”

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senator floor today in support of a Senate resolution condemning the attack on police officers last week in Dallas. Below are his remarks:

I haven’t watched the last three speeches in detail of my esteemed colleague from South Carolina, but I’ve watched good parts of them. I’m tremendously impressed with his personal experiences –  about his empathy for what’s getting on in America today, and his positive attitude, which I admire very much.

Today, before we adjourn, the Senate will unanimously pass a resolution condemning last week’s violent attack in Dallas. This attack was on the police officers of the Dallas community, and of course other law enforcement agencies were also targeted, but the people killed were Dallas police officers.

We’re all devastated by this murderous rampage that claimed the lives of five officers and wounded nine others. Every member of the Senate stands with the police department of Dallas and we’ve been so impressed with the chief of police. We stand with the Dallas Police Department, the victims, their families, the brave men and women who serve the people of Dallas.

I support this resolution because the least we can do in the Senate is to honor these heroes. I support this resolution because the least we can do in the Senate is to recognize the sacrifices made, much of it on national television.

I think it’s important that we also acknowledge the peaceful protesters who were marching that day for justice and an end to violence. They were calling for – and doing it in a very peaceful manner –  the end to the brutality and hostility that’s taken the lives of Americans of all backgrounds but disproportionately people of color.

In the days leading up to the rally in Dallas, as we heard from my friend from South Carolina, two men were killed, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota. The young man in Louisiana was held down by two police officers and then killed. Just the next day a man was killed in his car with the fiancé and her four-year-old daughter there listening and watching.

Our friends in the African American community demand recognition that their lives are valued, respected as everyone’s life should be, and should be done equally. It was my suggestion that we add just a word or two to this resolution, to at least recognize the purpose of the peaceful demonstrations in this resolution. There was a decision made that that not be part of the resolution. I accept that. But I wanted to make sure that we recognized these peaceful protesters and why they were there.

There are many victims here, be they law enforcement officers or innocent people of color. They all deserve to be acknowledged. But, as has been said by a number of people here the last few days, we can’t sweep these problems that we have under the rug.

I thought it was tremendous that the senator from South Carolina talked about three things we should all agree on: body cameras, data collection, and of course, doing something with the criminal justice system. We are so close to having that on this floor – something we could vote on. It’s bipartisan. It should be done. So I appreciate very much the senator from South Carolina mentioning these three things, and I think they are certainly worth mentioning again.

We can support the police officers of America –  men and women – and we can mourn those who have fallen and honor their bravery, while also acknowledging that we must do better in preventing the senseless killings of people of color.

I echo President Obama’s words from the memorial service in Dallas. He must be recognized for these great words when he said, “Find the character as Americans to open our hearts to each other.” We need to do that. If we do, we can find empathy for each other. The empathy to understand the challenges law enforcement faces every day and the empathy to understand the frustration and anger within communities of color across our nation.

I look forward to the resolution passing. It’s something the Senate should be proud of.