A trauma surgeon who operated on several of the police officers who were victims of the horror that unfolded in Dallas last Thursday said that he supports the police, but when it comes to his interactions with them outside of his work, he also fears them.
Speaking during a press conference on Monday, Dr. Brian H. Williams spoke of the dichotomy so many African-American people live every day here in the land of the free.
One time, a year or two ago, I bought one of the Dallas PD officers some ice cream when I was out with my daughter getting ice cream. I want my daughter to see me interacting with police that way so she doesn’t grow up with the same burden that I carry when it comes to interacting with law enforcement.
And I want the police officers to see me — a black man — and understand that I support you, I will defend you and I will care for you. That doesn’t mean that I do not fear you. That doesn’t mean that if you approach me, I will not immediately have a visceral reaction and start worrying for my personal safety.
Williams, who practices at Parkland Memorial Hospital, said that the lives he was unable to save that tragic night “weigh heavily” on his mind, but he added that his apprehensions began long ago. As he speaks, you can see him fight to find the right words to try to convey the overwhelming emotions driving his words.
Right now it is certainly a struggle. There’s this dichotomy where I am standing with law enforcement,” he explained. “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. I’ve been there and I understand that.
This is a skilled surgeon. A highly educated man who did everything he could to save the lives of those fallen officers, and he just said that if he were pulled over on the way home from his shift at the hospital, he would be afraid for his safety. This is what it means to be black in America.
Watch Dr. Williams’ powerful interview here:
Featured image via video screen capture