The man who calmly, firmly, took the podium after the Dallas police shootings Thursday night knows all about tragedy, even about having a loved one shot by a police officer — because it happened to him.
Police Chief David Brown, on the job in Dallas — the nation’s ninth-largest city — just six years, lost his own son in a police-related shooting, after his son shot and killed an officer.
This same man is now preparing for police funerals and for continuing to guide his department through a difficult and important time, as CNN and other outlets have noted.
“We’re hurting. Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken,” Chief Brown said several days ago. “There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is this: This must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”
The sniper — identified as Micah Johnson, a former Army reservist who served in Afghanistan — killed five officers and wounded seven others, as well as wounding several civilians. He was determined to kill white officers, Brown said.
Brown grew up in a tough Dallas neighborhood. Once he returned from college in the early 1980s, he saw the crack cocaine epidemic slowly destroy his very own neighborhood — and couldn’t watch it happen. “I began thinking about law enforcement then,” he told the Dallas Observer. “I wanted to do something rather than just complain about what was happening.”
He became a cop in 1983, suffered the loss of his partner, and also suffered the loss of a younger brother in a shooting. He lost his son in 2010, and the autopsy on his son revealed that he had alcohol and marijuana in his system.
To read more about the Dallas police shooting, click here.