One of the doctors who treated the 12 officers shot by Micah Johnson in Dallas opened up Monday about the conflicting emotions he's experienced as a black man.
"The preceding days of more black men dying at the hands of police officers affected me," Dr. Brian Williams, a trauma surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital, said. "I think the reasons are obvious, I fit that demographic of individuals. But I abhor what has been done to these officers and I grieve with their families."
Thursday evening Micah Johnson opened fired on police officers manning a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration in response to the recent killings of black men by police officers.
Five officers were fatally struck by Johnson before he was killed during a standoff.
On Monday, Williams discussed the internal struggle he experiences as a black man who supports and treats law enforcement.
"I stand with law enforcement, but I also personally feel and understand the angst that comes when you cross the path of a white officer and you are fearing for your safety," Williams said. "I have been there and I understand that."
But the real problem, he said, is "the lack of open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country."
"This killing, it has to stop," Williams said passionately. "Black men dying and being forgotten, people retaliating against the people that are sworn to defend us, we have to come together and end all this."
That he could not save all of the officers who came into the trauma center Thursday night weighs heavily on him, Williams added.
He tries to teach his daughter to respect and trust law enforcement so that she does not grow up to have the same "visceral reaction" to white officers that he does.
"I support you, I will defend you and I will care for you," Williams said to police officers. "That doesn't mean that I do not fear you "
Before the news conference was even over, Williams' name began trending on Twitter due to an outpouring of support.
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
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