Among those injured in the sniper attack in Dallas that killed five police officers and wounded nine others—including four civilians—was gay Latino officer Jesus Retana, according to The New Civil Rights Movement.
A profile in the Dallas Morning News describes how Retana and his husband — a former DART officer — spearheaded efforts to get domestic partner benefits for employees of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police department:
Retana and his husband, Andrew Moss, worked with Rafael McDonnell — communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization — to get same-sex partner benefits for DART a few years earlier, McDonnell stated on Twitter.
DART President Gary Thomas told the Dallas Morning News that he visited Retana and another injured officer in the hospital before Retana was released.
“I told them we’re thinking of them,” he said. “We’re praying for them and we’re here to support them.”
The shooting took place during an otherwise peaceful protest against police violence, held in response to the officer-involved killings of two black men in two days — Philando Castille in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.
Also wounded during the shooting — in which a lone gunman told negotiators he was upset about the recent police shootings of Black men — was Shetamia Taylor, an African-American civilian and mother, who took a bullet to her leg while protecting her son.
Taylor’s sister, Theresa Williams, told the Dallas Morning News Taylor went to the Dallas protest to “show her sons that it’s OK to stand up for who you are and what you believe in,” and expected that people would “come together, be peaceful, communicate with one another” and “show that violence doesn’t get you anywhere.”
The Black Lives Matter movement has condemned the tragic attack while continuing to demand transparency and accountability in deaths of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement.
“This is a tragedy–both for those who have been impacted by yesterday’s attack and for our democracy,” the BLM statement reads. “Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it. Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us.”
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have also responded to the recent violence.
Clinton said, in a speech at the African Methodist Episcopal Church conference in Philadelphia, that “there is something wrong in our country” and encouraged people to listen to each other more, and then act:
We need to ask ourselves every single day: What can I do to stop violence and promote justice? How can I show that your life matters — that we have a stake in another’s safety and well-being?
Elie Wiesel once said that “the opposite of love is not hate — it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death — it’s indifference.”
None of us can afford to be indifferent toward each other — not now, not ever. We have a lot of work to do, and we don’t have a moment to lose. People are crying out for criminal justice reform. People are also crying out for relief from gun violence. The families of the lost are trying to tell us. We need to listen. We need to act.
Trump said the shooting in Dallas “has shaken the soul of our nation,” and called for people to “stand in solidarity with law enforcement.” He also noted that “racial divisions have gotten worse, not better,” and said the recent officer-involved shooting deaths of two African-American men was a reminder that not everyone feels safe in America.
“The deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota also make clear how much more work we have to do to make every American feel that their safety is protected,” Trump said.
Trump — who has been criticized for making racist comments — did not mention how his proposals to build a wall between the United States and Mexico or to ban Muslims from entering the country would heal racial divisions or make people of color feel safer.