DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – North Texas will again pause to remember five police officers, with the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Area Rapid Transit, killed in a deadly ambush. Our nation’s leaders, present and past, will take part in tributes and memorials this afternoon.
As North Texas begins to heal President Barack Obama will arrive in Dallas to honor the fallen. The President is expected to leave White House later this morning, along with the First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife. The presidential motorcade should arrive in Dallas shortly after 12 noon and arrive for the interfaith service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center set to begin at 12:40 p.m.
The President will try to help grief-stricken Dallas less than a week after five of its police officers were slain in the line of duty. They were shot by an Army veteran-turned-sniper during a brazen act of violence that President Obama denounced as a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement” by a “demented” individual.
Former President George W. Bush, Dallas Mayor Michael Rawlings and Dallas Police Chief David Brown will be among the the speakers at the service that will also include prayer and comments from a female African American Pastor, an Imam from Irving and a Rabbi from a Dallas Temple.
After the service President Obama and Vice President Biden are also expected to meet with the families of some of the officers killed in the shooting last Thursday night while standing guard as hundreds of people peacefully protested the police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota earlier in the week. At least nine other officers and two civilians were injured in the attack.
The attack downtown ended with the gunman, Micah Johnson, 25, blown up by a bomb delivered by a police robot. The black Army veteran portrayed the attack on the white officers as payback for the fatal police shootings of black men in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis.
Portions of those shootings were videotaped and broadcast nationwide, leading to fresh outrage, protests and scores of arrests. The killings also put the country on edge, heightened racial tensions and pushed the issue of the use of deadly force against black males by white police officers to the forefront.
The President will seek to bridge those issues with his tribute to the fallen five, which include a former Army Ranger, a Navy veteran and a newlywed starting a second family.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama recognizes that people across the U.S. join Dallas in grieving over the recent, troubling events.
“The president is hoping to offer some measure of comfort,” Earnest said.
Obama and Biden met Monday with police chiefs, sheriffs and rank-and-file officers to discuss adopting a series of reforms that were drafted by a White House task force on policing, as well as how to restore trust between police officers and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.
The President has planned a meeting Wednesday with a broader group that includes law enforcement, activists and academics.
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