A day after three police officers were shot dead in Baton Rouge and a little more than a week after five officers were killed by a sniper in Dallas, Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a group of black officers that their voices were "needed now more than ever."
"We all share not only a country, but a brief moment of life together. And the complex and challenging issues these tragedies have brought to the fore can only be met if we can find ways to work together," Lynch said at the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) 40th annual conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday morning.
The attacks on police came after two black men were fatally shot by police officers in the span of two days earlier this month. The motive behind Sunday's ambush in Baton Rouge hadn't been determined, but the Dallas suspect had told authorities that he wanted to kill white officers.
"NOBLE's voice is needed now more than ever to speak to the loss of humanity when any of us are judged at a glance — whether by the color of our skin or the color of our uniform," Lynch told the officers.
Lynch on Sunday said the Department of Justice would offer victim services available in Baton Rouge. The department was already involved in Baton Rouge in an investigation into the killing of Alton Sterling, who was shot by a police officer there.
"I know that we in this room feel a unique perspective and a particular pain born of the broader experiences we bring to bear and the broader world in which we live," Lynch said to the group of officers. She then cited the words of Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson, who was killed in the attack Monday after posting a haunting message on Facebook after the killings of five officers in Dallas.
"'In uniform I get nasty, hateful looks — and out of uniform, some consider me a threat,'" Lynch read from Jackson's post.
In her own words, she added: "And yet even still, he urged all Americans — of every background and circumstance, every color and creed — 'Please don't let hate infect your heart.'"