[JURIST] In a press conference held Friday in Washington, DC, Attorney General Loretta Lynch [official website] gave her response to the shooting of police in Dallas during a peaceful protest of recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. Lynch gave her thoughts and condolences to those affected by the recent tragedies and stated that the Department of Justice, including the FBI, ATF, and US Marshals Service and US Attorneys Office were conducting an investigation into the Dallas shooting. She also stated a civil rights investigation has been opened in the Sterling case, while assistance is being provided to local authorities in Minnesota as they investigate the Castille shooting. Lynch acknowledged that some Americans may be feeling a “sense of helplessness, of uncertainty, and of fear,” but she stood firm in saying that “the answer must not be violence. The answer is never violence.” Lynch also briefly touched upon gun control in the country, stating “we must take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers can get their hands on deadly weapons and the frequency with which they use them.” Finishing her press conference, Lynch urged American citizens to stand together as one nation and prevent hatred from precipitating any further violent acts.
The response to the recent shootings comes as national recognition of police use of deadly-force against black citizens increases. In May Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law an amended hate crimes bill [JURIST report], referred to as the “Blue Lives Matter” law, including police, EMS personnel and firefighters in the category of those protected. The bill has drawn the contempt of some civil rights groups, including the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Earlier this year the US Department of Justice (DOJ) launched an investigation [JURIST report] of the San Francisco Police Department following the shooting of an unarmed African American. In December an Ohio grand jury decided not to indict [JURIST report] two officers involved in a 2014 shooting resulting in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Earlier that month the DOJ announced that it would be opening a full investigation [JURIST report] into the Chicago Police Department following the 2014 police shooting death of a black teenager.