After the shooting of police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday night, Dallas police chief David Brown addressed the tragedy, serving as a pillar of strength for the community in the midst of turbulent times. While the speech is incredibly poignant from beginning to end, his closing remarks cut the deepest:
“Some of the bravest men and women you’d ever want to be associated with. You see video footage of them running toward gunfire from an elevated position with no chance to protect themselves. And to put themselves in harm’s way to make sure that citizens can get to a place of security. So, please join me in applauding these brave men and women who do this job under great scrutiny, under great vulnerability. Who literally risk their lives to protect our democracy. We don’t feel much support most days. Let’s not make today most days. Please, we need your support.”
Even before this week, Brown has had to deal with an inordinate amount of violence and pain in his life. According to The Washington Post, Brown has lost a former partner, a brother, and a son to violence. Despite the personal nature of these issues, Brown is still there on the front lines as a leader every day.
“There are some people who would just shut down, and they would have others conducting the interviews,” said Keith Humphrey, the police chief of Norman, Okla. “But that is not David. He realized the community wants to hear from him. The nation wants to hear from him.”
In 2010, Brown lost his 27-year-old son, David, after he shot a cop and was subsequently gunned down. David had struggled with mental illness before the altercation, and the loss understandably hit Chief Brown unbearably hard.
“He approached those families as David Brown, the father of a young man that caused so much hurt in both of these families lives,” he said. After Humphrey made the introductions and hugs were exchanged, Humphrey walked outside to give the families and Brown privacy. “As I was walking out the door, I heard David say, ‘First of all, I’m sorry,’ and ‘My son was not raised this way.’ ”
And that is only the tip of the iceberg for Brown. In 1988, he lost his former partner, Walter Williams, a 47-year-old father of three, gunned down at the scene of a crime. Additionally, Brown’s younger brother, Kelvin, was shot by drug dealers in Phoenix, AZ, in 1991.
For Chief Brown to have to deal with such an issue that is so close to home in such a public way is tragic, but he is handling it with dignity. Being so close to the tragedy helps him to further understand the pain of the victims, because he has been one of them, telling The Morning News, “I can’t deny that’s a part of who I am. “The families of victims, I know what they go through.”
(Via The Washington Post)