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We have your backs, Barack Obama tells police after officers killed

Published 19/07/2016

US President Barack Obama wrote an open letter to the nation's law enforcement officers (AP)
US President Barack Obama wrote an open letter to the nation's law enforcement officers (AP)

US President Barack Obama has said the nation will get through the recent killings of police officers with the "love and empathy of public servants" like those targeted in recent days.

In an open letter to the nation's law enforcement officers, Mr Obama sought to reassure police, saying: "We have your backs."

The letter was released the day after two police officers and a sheriff's deputy were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after being ambushed by a lone gunman.

Baton Rouge is where police fatally shot Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, outside a convenience store on July 5. Mr Sterling's death sparked nationwide protests.

The latest law enforcement deaths follow the July 7 sniper killings of five Dallas police officers as they guarded a peaceful protest.

Mr Obama has said nothing justifies attacks on law enforcement, a sentiment he reiterated in the two-page letter. The Fraternal Order of Police posted the president's letter on its social media sites.

Mr Obama wrote: "Any attack on police is an unjustified attack on all of us."

The letter comes as Mr Obama's critics accuse him of fostering a climate that has led to the intentional killing of police and other law enforcement officers.

Mr Obama telephoned the families of the Baton Rouge officers on Monday to offer his and the first lady's condolences.

He said in the letter: "We will get through this difficult time together.

"We will do it with the love and empathy of public servants like those we have lost in recent days.

"We will do it with the resilience of cities like Dallas that quickly came together to restore order and deepen unity and understanding.

"We will do it with the grace of loved ones who even in their grief have spoken out against vengeance toward police.

"We will do it with the good will of activists like those I have sat with in recent days, who have pledged to work together to reduce violence even as they voice their disappointments and fears."

He added: "Thank you for your courageous service. We have your backs."

AP

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