Residents, Police, NAACP Respond To Dallas Shootings

Jul 8, 2016

Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island officials, citizens, faith groups and more have been reacting today to the violence in Dallas. 

Many Tweeted their reactions, posted on Facebook, or sent statements to our newsroom. We've collected many of them in this Storify below (scroll down).

Jim Vincent, head of the Providence chapter of the NAACP, addressed a crowd Friday at the West End Recreation Center in Providence.
Credit Sophie Kasakove / RIPR

Several Rhode Island state officials and community members came together in Providence Friday afternoon to address the violence and talk about efforts to improve community-police relations.

Jim Vincent, head of the NAACP's Providence Chapter, addressed the gathering, and later spoke with RIPR's Dave Fallon. Vincent says there's a fatigue, now, in the black community, after so much violence.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré at his office on the West Side of Providence.
Credit Elisabeth Harrison

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré sat down with Rhode Island Public Radio's news director Elisabeth Harrison to talk about the impact of the Dallas shootings. He says it's a sad day for law enforcement everywhere.

"It's horrendous," he said. "They were ambushed by murders."

Asked whether it will change how Providence Police approach large gatherings, Paré said he's aware this kind of violence could happen anywhere, but there's a way to channel anger into something more positive.

Gov. Gina Raimondo was joined by Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, State Police Chief Colonel Stephen O’Donnell, and local law enforcement and community members. The governor cited initiatives to develop cooperation and trust between Rhode Island police and the communities they serve. But she also acknowledged the racial injustices of Rhode Island’s criminal justice system:

"It’s time to recognize the real racial injustice and racial disparities in our criminal justice system," said Raimondo. "In Rhode Island 18 percent of our population is African American and Latino. 45 percent of our prison population is African American and Latino. Let’s fix broken systems."

Raimondo said that Rhode Island officials would continue to work on building stronger relationships with their communities.

Local community leader Kobi Dennis says that it is up to police officers, local officials and community members to prevent this kind of violence from happening in Providence.

"Doing your job as a law enforcement officer is riding by young kids, getting out of the car, shaking hands, saying hello. Doing your job as a citizen is to keep on fighting, persevere, overcome, ‘cause there’s a lot of hardships in this community right here, but it is not an excuse for violence."

Dennis and others commended the efforts of state and local officials to come together in response to these tragedies.