At the end of what was a peaceful march, the shots rang out. By the time the ambush was over, five police officers were dead, and the shooter was blown up by a robot carrying a bomb. We were in Dallas hours after the shooting, and it was clear that this was a city in mourning.
There were candlelight vigils, rallies, an impromptu and pretty moving memorial was set up outside police headquarters. That an army veteran, railing against white people, would attack the city's police, shook the town to its core. The sniper attack took place during a time of protests against police misconduct, specifically targeting people of color.
Often in the media, you would see stories of tension between communities and their police department. And there was clearly a possibility that this would turn into one of those situations. But immediately, we were struck by the fact that there wasn't that kind of tension. And many people credited the response to the city's police chief, David Brown.
Brown emerged as a kind of common steadying force. He was able to balance the hurt from his own police department. But also taking into consideration the communities of color who had reasonable complaints against police departments around the country. Chief Brown had a unique perspective in this that really allowed him to see both sides of the issue.
Not only is a police chief and a man of color->> So I've been black a long time, man, so->>
But as someone whose own son was killed in a police shootout, after he himself killed a police officer. And instead of tying the shooter Micah Johnson to the Black Lives Matter movement, who immediately denounced the shooting, Brown instead urged all sides to join forces, literally.
>> We're hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in, and we'll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about.>> As we drove around the city it was calm, quiet, people were gathering in public to just talk about their feelings.
They were thanking cops, they would line up to often hug them. People were coming to the police department to pay their respects either in the form of a note of gratitude or a teddy bear. The way it felt, it wasn't an attack on police, on white people, on black people.
Dallas felt attacked, and Dallas really came together, especially with the help of their very empathetic and thoughtful police chief.