Black Dallas Surgeon Reveals His Conflicted Relationship With Police

In an emotional speech that seems ripped from a Hollywood film, a Dallas surgeon who treated police officers shot by the Dallas shooter, describes his relationship with the police, including those who he tried and, in some cases, failed to save in the wake of the horrific Dallas protest shooting.

Dr. Brian H. Williams, a trauma surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital, opened his remarks during the Monday press conference by saying, that “first and foremost, I stand with the Dallas police department.” What followed is one of the most powerful statements on race relations you’ll hear in some time.

“I understand the anger and frustration and distrust of law enforcement, but they are not the problem,” Dr. Williams told reporters. “The problem is the lack of open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country. And I think about it every day — that I was unable to save those cops when they came here that night.”

Dr. Williams continued, the emotion hovering just behind his voice. “There’s a dichotomy where I stand with law enforcement but I also personally feel and understand that angst that comes when you cross the paths of an officer in uniform and you’re fearing for your safety,” he said.

The surgeon, a former U.S. Air Force engineer, told reporters that he took efforts to keep his daughter from feeling the same angst and fear that he does. That includes picking up checks for police officers at restaurants, or buying police officers ice cream while with her. “I want my daughter seeing me interacting with police that way so that she doesn’t grow up with the same burden that I carry,” Dr. Williams said. “And I want Dallas PD to see me, a black man, and understand that I support you, I will defend you and I will care for you.”

Dr. Williams speaks eloquently and simply to the fundamental tension underlying the interactions of Black men and women with police officers. He's right that there needs to be a better conversation around race relations, one that doesn’t include a gun at its center.

His closing remarks are perhaps the most powerful. Watch the entire clip in full below.

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