Sniper attack kills 5 police officers during protest in Dallas

Monday, July 11, 2016

Essential question

What is the role of police officers in our society?


On Thursday night in Dallas, Texas, gunmen killed five police officers and wounded seven more near the scene of protests against police violence. Two civilians were among the injured.

After engaging in a standoff with one suspect, police sent a robot with an explosive device into a downtown parking garage, killing 25-year old Micah Johnson, an enlisted member of the military who served in Afghanistan and had no criminal history. Three other suspects were apprehended.

Before he died, Johnson told officers he wanted to kill white people, that the Black Lives Matter movement and recent police shootings had upset him and that he held no group affiliations, according to Dallas Police Department Chief David Brown.


“To say that our police officers put their life on the line every day is no hyperbole, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a reality,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings the morning after the shootings.

The Dallas shootings occurred as back-to-back videos emerged this week showing two black men being fatally shot during confrontations with police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Protests over police use of deadly force broke out across the country as a result.

Before the shooting began, the protest in Dallas had been peaceful.

Key terms

deadly force — generally defined as physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury.



Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. The Dallas shootings mark the most deadly day for police officers since September 11th.  In addition to making the ultimate sacrifice, what risks are involved when one becomes a police officer?
  2. When are police permitted to use deadly force?
  3. What recent events of the past week have reignited protests over police reform?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Why is what happened in Dallas significant in terms of recent news events this week?
  2. Why do police shootings continue to set off mass protests?
  3. What can be done to improve relations between police and the nation’s black community?