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San Diego Police Chief, Local Activists Respond To Dallas Police Attack

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The day after a sniper attack in Dallas left five officers dead and seven injured, San Diego Police Department’s flags were flown at half-staff. Its officers wore black bands.

“We were standing there watching the news and looking at it in disbelief,” San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told KPBS Midday Edition on Friday.

The department temporarily instituted two-officer-only patrols Thursday night as a precaution.

RELATED: Dallas Police Officers Killed By Snipers: What We Know Friday

“What I want everybody in San Diego to know is that all of our officers here, we're completely committed. We took an oath to protect and serve. And they went out last night and continue to go out every single day and wear our uniform with pride, our badge with pride and to go out and make sure that our community is safe,” Zimmerman said. “And that's what we're going to continue … every single day.”

The chief thinks the department’s struggle to keep officers — she said staffing is down about 25 percent — is partly caused by an anti-law enforcement climate.

“But I will also tell you, since what has happened last night in Dallas, is that countless phone calls and text messages and emails from our community offering support and showing support to our Police Department,” Zimmerman said.

The San Diego chapter of the National Action Network intends to coordinate with Zimmerman to ensure the safety of attendees of the rally it had already planned for Saturday. The group organized the event in response to the police killings this week of two African-American men — Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.

“The plan is actually to call for the violence to stop,” the Rev. Shane Harris, the chapter’s president, told Midday Edition. “We have never changed our message.”

Andre Branch, the president of the San Diego chapter of the NAACP, also spoke on Midday Edition against violence.

“I think the vast majority of African-American people in this country mourn when African-Americans are senselessly killed by police officers. We also mourn when police officers are killed,” Branch said.

He added that the individual responsible for the attacks in Dallas should not be linked to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“That movement operates peacefully,” Branch said. “The shooter who killed those police officers last night and injured others interrupted a peaceful demonstration. … I don't think we should get it twisted that violence that is vengeful have anything to do with appropriate and peaceful rallies.”


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