After the Dallas shooting during a peaceful protest left three police officers dead, an even larger rift has formed between the Black Lives Matter movement and those who accuse it of being anti-cop. But one person who was thrown in the middle of the debate has an interesting perspective on the issue: a black man who treated the police officers injured during the Dallas shooting.
According to the Huffington Post, Dr. Brian Williams is a trauma surgeon at Parkland Hospital who was on duty the night a lone sniper shot 14 innocent people during the Black Lives Matter protest, specifically targeting Dallas police officers. Three of those men didn’t survive the Dallas shooting. But Dr. Williams treated many of the police officers that night, possibly saving their lives, and he admitted that being a black male made things “much more complicated” for him.
A group of first-responders from the Dallas shooting recently spoke at a news panel about the tragic event, and Dr. Brian Williams was one of the few African Americans among them. As you can see it the video below, the Dallas shooting had a strong emotional impact on the surgeon, having put him in a difficult position between the violence against the police officers and the violence committed by police against black males.
“There’s this dichotomy where I’m standing with law enforcement, but I also personally feel that angst that comes when you cross the path of an officer in uniform and you’re fearing for your safety,” he said.
The two recent events that reignited the Black Lives Matter movement were the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both black men who some claim were unlawfully murdered by police officers.
The Black Lives Matter movement strives to eliminate the subconscious racism that many people feel towards African Americans, often wrongfully assuming them to be violent criminals — to the point of resorting to violence in preemptive self-defense. In many cases, like the death of Alton Sterling, the shooting is caught on film, allowing millions to see the tragedy take place from start to finish. This sort of thing doesn’t tend to happen to white individuals.
Some believe the Dallas shooting was a direct response to these deaths from a radical Black Lives Matter activist who was seeking revenge against police officers.
Dr. Brian H. Williams has seen the results of these police shootings too many times. And though he wholly condemned the Dallas shootings, he was also quick to condemn the systematic racism against black people.
“I don’t understand why black men die in custody and they’re forgotten the next day,” Williams said. “I don’t know why this has to be us against them. It has to stop.”
The trauma surgeon is vocalizing the struggle many people feel between supporting police officers and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Despite having provided medical treatment for the victims of the Dallas shootings, Dr. Brian H. Williams confessed he is still afraid of the officers he helped.
“I want Dallas police also to see me, a black man, and understand that I support you, I will defend you and I will care for you. That doesn’t mean that I do not fear you.”
Williams also appeared on CNN to discuss the Dallas shooting and Black Lives Matter. He described the killing of innocent black men as a “bad movie on an endless loop.”
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) July 12, 2016
Regardless of anyone’s allegiance to the Black Lives Matter protests or police officers, Dr. Williams shared a sentiment most people can agree with: violence is never the answer.
“We are all in this together, we are all connected. All this violence, all this hatred, all these disagreements, it impacts us all, whether you realize it or not. This is not the kind of world we want to leave for our children. Something has to be done.”
What do you think? Would you have treated the victims of the Dallas shooting even if you were afraid of them?
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]