After the tragic killing of five police officers in Dallas Thursday night, many people immediately blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for encouraging a war against cops. Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza set the record straight on “All In With Chris Hayes” on Friday, when she responded to the shooting.
“Black Lives Matter has never, ever called for the murder of police officers,” Garza told Hayes. “What we have said over and over again is that it is time in this country for policing to be accountable, transparent and responsible. That’s not rhetoric. That is what communities in the United States want to see from the people who protect and serve them. And so quite frankly, we can, at the same time as we grieve the loss of life of several officers who were killed last night, we can also push to demand that there be accountable, responsive, transparent policing that has oversight form communities and that is accountable to the communities they are supposed to protect and serve.”
Garza added that Black Lives Matter isn’t concerned with inciting more violence ― in fact, the movement condemns it ― but with tearing down the assumption that black people are criminals.
“We are not anti-police,” she declared. “We are anti our people being murdered in the streets. What happened to Alton Sterling, what happened to Philando, what happens to so many black people in our communities is absolutely unacceptable, and I think that’s something that we can all agree on.”
We are not anti-police. We are anti- our people being murdered in the streets. Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter co-founder
Hayes asked if Garza was worried that police departments around the would be on edge after the Dallas shooting ― and possibly more likely to use force. She conceded that she was, explaining that that anxiety, combined with the negative rhetoric thrown toward the BLM movement, could be used to “curtail people’s civil liberties.”
Moving forward, Garza said she hopes Americans begin addressing the root problems the country faces ― in all areas of life.
“Black Lives Matter is not just concerned with what happens in policing,” she said. “The disregard, the disrespect and the lack of dignity for black life transcends through the fabric of our society.”
“If I’m clear about anything today that I may not have been clear about when we started... is that we are really in for an uphill battle,” she continued. “This country in particular is having a very, very difficult time with addressing the root causes of the problems that we face and that until we actually get to that point, unfortunately I do believe we’re gonna have a lot more chaos and confusion.”
Watch Garza’s full interview in the video above.