White House calls Attack on Dallas Police a Hate Crime

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said U.S. President Barack Obama felt that if the sniper that killed five Dallas police officers had survived, he should have been charged with a hate crime.

President Obama made the remarks during a meeting with representatives of eight police organizations on Monday. Obama told those in attendance that he considered the killing of the five police officers in Dallas “a hate crime” and that he would work actively to serve as an intermediary between minority activists and police.

On Sunday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said it was too early in the investigation to call the attack a hate crime. Following the shooting, DHS Secretary Johnson stopped short of calling it an act of domestic terrorism, even though Dallas Police said the shooter told a hostage negotiator that he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers before he was killed by a police robot.

Critics of the Obama Administration have voiced concerns over the President’s reluctance to use the term terrorism during his nearly eight years in the oval office. Some national security experts argued that the Dallas police officer attack met both the definitions of domestic terrorism and a hate crime. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 created a federal law that criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury (or attempting to do so with fire, firearm, or other dangerous weapon) when the crime is committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion or national origin of any person.

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that Micah Johnson, an Army Reserve veteran who served in Afghanistan, had a Glock 19 Gen4 pistol, a Fraser .25-caliber handgun and a semi-automatic Izhmash Saiga assault-style rifle when he was killed and that the guns were purchased legally. In addition to the five officers killed, Johnson shot and wounded nine other police officers and two civilians before he was killed. Hundreds of rounds of ammunition were attached to Johnson’s body when he carried out the attack, an indication he meant to kill more people, a law enforcement source told CBS News.


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