Knoxville community leaders, residents horrified by Dallas shooting

A Dallas police officer, who did not want to be identified, takes a moment as she guards an intersection in the early morning after a shooting in downtown Dallas, Friday, July 8, 2016. At least two snipers opened fire on police officers during protests in Dallas on Thursday night; some of the officers were killed, police said. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The shooting deaths of two African-American men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota that were captured on video and posted online spread outrage across the country.

“It seems like murdering young black males is at a premium,” said community leader Rick Staples. “If it’s not at the hands of officers, it seems to be at the hands of each other.”

At the end of a protest in Dallas, five police officers were killed and several officers injured. Pastor Daryl Arnold says he’s still waiting on the all the facts but people need to acknowledge there’s a problem in America.

“You have good policemen and bad policemen,” said Pastor Arnold. “Just because somebody does something wrong to me, I can’t take it out on you.”

“I think its a cry, bitterness and frustration of not being heard but shooting officers is completely wrong.”

Both Staples and Arnold shared possible solutions.

“It’s okay to be angry, okay to be sad, but we can’t shut down. we have to have some forced dialogue so we can come together and solve this major issue,” said Staples.

“Police officers have to stop killing black people without cause,” said Arnold. “Also when it happens there has to be some significant consequences that come with these erroneous attacks.”

“I also think with this body cam stuff it used to be an option but it needs to be mandatory,” said Arnold.

Staples and Armold both say despite the tragedies in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas, they’re thankful they live in a city like Knoxville.

“We need to be very careful about seeing what’s taking place in other cities and then putting the fault on people here in Knoxville because that’s not happening here,” said Arnold.

Mayors saddened by Dallas violence

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett each say they were horrified by the violence in Dallas.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the communities and families across the countries the three cities who have been impacted by these awful deaths,” said Mayor Rogero.

Mayor Rogero says her thoughts and prayers are also with the officers killed.

“For the Dallas police officers who were shot protecting protestors our hearts also go out to that community and to their family and friends,” said Mayor Rogero.

She said she thinks local law enforcement has a positive relationship with the community.

Previous story: Police: 5 officers dead, 7 hurt in Dallas protest shooting

“As a community we have worked intentionally to avoid what we have seen in other cities,” said Mayor Rogero.

Mayor Burchett says law enforcement officials should get more credit for risking their lives each day.

“That is an incredibly stressful job and we don’t pay those folks enough.  We don’t pay them enough respect in our communities,” said Mayor Burchett.

Burchett shared how he thinks the violence could be stopped.

“I don’t think we need any more programs. I think we need folks to stand up and say killing is wrong. We need real leadership. We need talking about peace, talking about the things that unite us.”

Both mayors are asking for calm and peace during any local rallies.

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