When the Dallas County Commissioners Court were called to a vote on a ceremonial resolution to honor fallen police officers, most observers expected it to pass without much discussion.
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However, one commissioner used to occasion to make a point about those who he said wrongfully died at the hands of police officers, sparking a debate about protests against police brutality.
John Wiley Price, who represents the southern and southeastern sections of Dallas County, loudly announced he would abstain from voting for the resolution.
While Price said he believes any loss of life due to violence is unfortunate, he said he abstained as a way to protest what he called “the narrative with regards to other people who’ve lost their life at the hands of law enforcement:”
“Until we start to recognize all life, then no life is more important than any other life.”
Despite his abstention and protest, the resolution passed by a vote of 4-1, marking July 7 as Fallen Officers’ Day.
This commemorates the anniversary of an ambush shooting, where five police officers were killed and seven other injured during a shooting at a downtown Dallas “Black Lives Matter” protest.
The 2016 protest was in response to allegations of white police officers fatally shooting Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, both of whom were black.
Mitch Slaymaker, deputy executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association, said Price’s comments showed “poor timing:”
“I don’t believe that that’s the place to do it to bring those types of political discussions up.”
Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata concurred with Slaymaker’s assessment of Price’s bad timing:
“Any other day of the week, I would agree with (Price),” Mata said. “But on a day where we lost five officers…(it’s) not the day that you do it.”
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Several law enforcement groups and their backers are demanding apologies from Price.
“Not in this lifetime,” Pierce responded. “The last time I checked, my God (said) all lives matter. That’s what I said, and that’s what I stick with.”