WASHINGTON, United States, Jul 8 – Five US police officers have been shot dead in Texas after the latest killings of blacks by police – two men elsewhere in the country this week – sparked nationwide protests.
Snipers killed police ambush-style as an otherwise peaceful rally by several hundred people was ending in Dallas, and a suspect died following a gunbattle at a downtown garage while officials locked down the nation’s seventh largest city.
Here is a timeline of events this week, beginning with the fatal shooting of a black man in Louisiana.
– Tuesday: fuse is lit in Louisiana –
On Tuesday, Alton Sterling, 37, is wrestled to the ground and shot at point-blank range as he sells CDs in front of a store in Baton Rouge. A large pool of blood forms on his chest.
Videos of the father of five being killed triggers protests and outrage across the country. The US is already tense as a policeman is due to stand trial Thursday in Baltimore over the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray, a black man whose spine was broken in the back of a police van.
A federal civil rights investigation is quickly launched into Sterling’s death.
– Wednesday: Dying moments livestreamed from Minnesota –
On Wednesday, Philandro Castile, 32, is shot at close range by a policeman in the Minneapolis suburb of Falcon Heights after being pulled over for a broken taillight.
Castile had informed the officer he was carrying a gun and had a permit to do so, but was shot as he reached for his driver’s license and car registration.
Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds livestreams the aftermath of the shooting, which shows an officer pointing his gun at her through the window as her four-year-old daughter sits in the back of the car.
The video, watched millions of times on social media, shows Castile bleeding profusely, moaning and gasping for air. Reynolds says the Asian male officer made conflicting demands of Castile, who had no police record, ordering both that Castile keep his hands in the air and that he identify himself.
Castile’s mother Valerie says: “Our black children are on the endangered species list.”
– Thursday: protests erupt across the nation –
The two killings prompt thousands to march in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Saint Paul and Washington late Thursday, while more than 1,000 people protest in New York’s Time Square.
Obama, the first black US president, says it is clear the shootings are not “isolated incidents.”
But he also adds: “Just because we say black lives matter doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter.”
At least 123 black people have been shot dead by police in the United States this year, half of last year’s toll of 258, according to Washington Post data.
– Thursday: Snipers open fire in Dallas –
Late Thursday, five police officers are shot dead and six wounded by snipers in Dallas, with a civilian also hurt. Police Chief David Brown says two snipers shot “from elevated positions.”
Police corner a suspect, who dies after a gunbattle in a downtown garage, as US officials restrict airspace over the city and public transport systems are suspended.
Speaking in Warsaw, Obama denounces “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”