Dallas Police Chief David Brown said that he and his family received death threats “almost immediately after” a gunman fatally shot five police officers and wounded nine others at a Black Lives Matter rally last week.
“We’re taking them all as credible, whether they can be confirmed or not,” Brown told reporters at a Monday press conference, noting that other officers in the department have received anonymous threats as well.
The police chief said the language of the threats was disturbing enough that the department is taking them all “very seriously,” “for the sake of our families.”
During negotiations with police officers on Friday, suspected gunman Micah Johnson, an Army veteran, allegedly said that he wanted to kill white people, particularly cops. Johnson was killed by a bomb-toting robot after conversations with hostage negotiators broke down.
Over the weekend, scattered outbursts of violence marred otherwise peaceful Black Lives Matter protests organized in cities across the country to protest the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota. Dozens were arrested, and at least five officers in St. Paul, Minnesota were hit by projectiles thrown by protesters, according to CNN.
Brown said that while the Dallas community, mayor and other city officials have given his department “all the support we need,” he believes Americans demand too much of local police departments.
“We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. We are. We’re just asking us to do too much,” he said. “Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding. Let the cop handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding. Let’s give it to the cops.”
“Here in Dallas, we’ve got a loose dog problem,” Brown went on. “Let’s have the cops chase loose dogs. You know, schools fail. Give it to the cops. Seventy percent of the African-American community is being raised by single women. Let’s give it to the cops to solve that, as well. That’s too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all of those problems.”
Brown, a strong advocate for community-based policing, attributed the city’s radical reduction in crime over the last decade to his department’s efforts to reduce the use of force and to hire officers familiar with Dallas neighborhoods.