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Black Trauma Surgeon Who Cared for Slain Dallas Police Officers Urges Black Community, Law Enforcement to Unite

( [email protected] ) Jul 12, 2016 01:47 PM EDT
A trauma surgeon who cared for the police officers killed during a Black Lives Matter Protest in Dallas, TX has urged law enforcement and the black community to come together and "end all of this killing."
Dr. Brian H. Williams, a trauma surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital, visits at the hospital, Monday, July 11, 2016, in Dallas. Williams treated some of the Dallas police officers who were shot Thursday night in downtown Dallas. Eric Gay / AP

A trauma surgeon who cared for the police officers killed during a Black Lives Matter Protest in Dallas, TX has urged law enforcement and the black community to come together and "end all of this killing."

Dr. Brian H. Williams, a staff surgeon at Parkland Trauma Center, was working last Thursday night when Micah Johnson, 25, opened fire on officers who were accompanying marchers protesting the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both black men.

Before he was killed by a bomb-carrying robot, Johnson used a rifle to fire from a parking garage to kill five police officers and injure seven others. Authorities said Johnson was angry about recent shootings by police and "wanted to kill white people."

During an emotional press conference on Tuesday, Williams, flanked by his fellow trauma team members, denounced the police killings and expressed his support for law enforcement nationwide.

"I think about it every day that I was unable to save those cops when they came here that night. It weighs on my mind constantly."

The doctor acknowledged that the anger, frustration and distrust of law enforcement felt by many in the black community were due to the lack of "open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country," according to NBC News.

"This killing, it has to stop. We have to come together and end all of this," he said. "Black men dying and being forgotten. People retaliating against the people that are sworn to defend us. We have to come together and end all of this.

"There's this dichotomy where I'm standing with law enforcement but I also personally feel and understand that angst that comes when you cross the paths of an officer in uniform and you're fearing for your safety. I've been there and I understand that. But for me that does not condone disrespecting or killing police officers," Williams said.

The doctor added that while he, as a black man, will always support, defend, and care for law enforcement, he nevertheless will always have a "visceral reaction and start worrying for my personal safety" when he sees police officers. He offered condolences to the families of Alton Sterling and Philandro Castile, both black men who were killed by police officers earlier this month.

"This experience has been very personal for me and a turning point in my life ... We routinely care for multiple gunshot victims, but the preceding days of more black men dying at the hands of police officers affected me," he said. "I fit that demographic of individuals."

"This is one of the most difficult times in my life, but I recognize that no matter what I'm going through right now, compared to the families of the officers and the victims that were killed this last week, it's nothing."

On Tuesday, President Obama traveled to Dallas to lead an interfaith memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in honor of the five police officers killed. Former President George W. Bush is expected to speak as well, and the event will also be attended by First Lady Michelle Obama, former First Lady Laura Bush and Vice President Joe Biden.