Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza came out strongly in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes against Thursday night’s murders of police officers in Dallas, and pointed out the movement seeks accountability and transparency in policing and has never called for violence.
Protesters had peacefully demonstrated Thursday against the police shootings this week that killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively. A gunman opened fire and killed five police officers and wounded others, along with a civilian, as the protest was winding down.
“Black Lives Matter has never, ever called for the murder of police officers,” Garza said in the Friday interview. “What we have said over and over again is that it is time in this country for policing to be accountable, transparent and responsible. That’s not rhetoric. That is what communities in the United States want to see from the people who protect and serve them.”
She added, “And so quite frankly, we can, at the same time as we grieve the loss of life of several officers who were killed last night, we can also push to demand that there be accountable, responsive, transparent policing that has oversight form communities and that is accountable to the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.”
Garza responded with concern to rhetoric from the “far right” that has labeled the movement as violent and “terrorists.” She added she feared that fear from Thursday night’s attack could fuel clamping down on people’s civil liberties as they protest against police killings. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also leveled blame at the activists, even though shooter Micah Johnson did not have ties to the group.
“We are not anti-police,” she said. “We are anti-our people being murdered in the streets. What happened to Alton Sterling, what happened to Philando, what happens to so many black people in our communities is absolutely unacceptable, and I think that’s something that we can all agree on.”
Watch the interview, as posted online, here: