LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A class of Los Angeles police recruits graduated Friday just hours after the killings of five Dallas officers during a protest of police killings of black men.
About 40 recruits were sworn into the LAPD, less than 24 hours after five officers were killed by snipers in Dallas.
Chief Charlie Beck told the graduates Friday they join a profession at a very difficult crossroads and called for the country to have a dialogue that does not break down along racial lines.
“We must move beyond that,” Beck said. “This not about black lives; not about brown lives; not about blue lives. This is about America.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Beck and command staff during the graduation ceremony.
During the recruit graduation, officers wore mourning bands in honor of the slain officers.
“Ten thousand Los Angeles police officers — including you — put on mourning bands today,” Beck said. “But these mourning bands are a symbol that cannot express the pain in our hearts.
“And the pain is not just about personal loss; it’s not just about the loss of another law enforcement officer; it’s not just about the attack on American institutions,” Beck continued. “It’s much more than that. It is a symbol of a breakdown, of a schism that has occurred within our society, where we have done what societies do when they are in trouble: we have separated, we have broken into tribes.”
A group of African-American men led by rappers Snoop Dogg and The Game marched to police headquarters and peacefully watched the ceremony.
Snoop Dogg told reporters they came to reintroduce their community to police and open a dialogue.
The graduation ceremony follows the deadliest attacks on police since Sept. 11, 2001.
The events in Dallas began around 8:45 p.m. Thursday when two snipers opened fire on officers during what was supposed to be a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas.
In total, five officers were fatally shot and six others sustained gunshot wounds.
Two civilians were also struck by gunfire.
Beck, among other city officials in Los Angeles, took to Twitter Thursday night to post their condolences and support for the City of Dallas.
The LAPD continues to closely monitor the situation in Dallas.
At this time, the department has not been placed on a tactical alert.
The motive for the shooting remains under investigation.
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