5 policemen killed by sniper, 6 injured during protest in US

Snipers have killed five police officers and injured six others in an ambush that occurred during a protest staged by black men in the US city of Dallas.

The protests were sparked by the deaths of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.

According to the BBC, gunfire broke out around 1:45 GMT on Friday as demonstrators marched through the city.

Three people are said to be in custody and one man who was in a stand-off with police shot himself dead, according to media reports.

Financial Times quoted David Brown, Dallas police chief, as saying officers were also negotiating with a fourth suspect who was engaged in a stand-off with police and had vowed to kill more officers.

Brown described the shootings as an “ambush-style” attack, and said those responsible appeared to have “planned to injure and kill as many officers as they could”.

“(They were) working together with rifles, triangulating at elevated positions in different points in the downtown area where the march ended up going,” he told reporters.

The shootings came just hours after President Barack Obama urged US authorities to accelerate police reforms to reduce the number of cases where innocent African-American men have been killed by police.

Speaking in Warsaw ahead of a Nato summit, Obama said incidents such as those in Louisiana and Minnesota were a reason that “a big chunk of our fellow citizenry” that feels as if because of the colour of their skin, they are not being treated the same by police.

But he tried to balance his comments with praise for the police, saying efforts to fix problems in law enforcement did not suggest in any sense that the lives of police were not very important.

“When people say black lives matter, that doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter,” said Mr Obama, referring to police by the colour of their uniforms. “It just means all lives matter but right now, the big concern is the fact that the data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. This isn’t a matter of us comparing the value of lives.”

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, and Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, have not yet commented on the killings in Dallas.

Thursday marked one of the worst days for US police, who have seen an average of 54 of their peers killed by gunfire every year over the past decade.

In 2014, two New York police officers were killed by a gunman who made references to a string of police shootings of unarmed black men, including Eric Garner in New York.
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