Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick criticized demonstrators who fled the Dallas shooting in an Fox News interview Friday, calling them “hypocrites” for running when gunfire broke out that claimed five law enforcement officers’ lives.
“All those protesters last night, they ran the other way, expecting the men and women in blue to turn around and protect them,” he said angrily. “What hypocrites.”
“I understand the First Amendment, I understand freedom of speech and I defend it,” he added. “But you can't go out on social media and mainstream media and everywhere else and say that the police are racist or police are hateful or police are killers.”
Protesters gathered in downtown Dallas Thursday night in response to two police shootings earlier this week that killed two black men: Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32. Dallas police officers were present to protect the crowd when bullets started firing around 9 p.m.
Five officers were killed and seven more wounded, some of whom were in critical condition, Dallas police said Friday morning.
Patrick, the second-highest ranking elected official in Texas, blamed the attack on Black Lives Matter protestors and “people on social media, with their hatred toward police.”
“Too many in the general public, who aren't criminals but have a big mouth, are creating situations like we saw last night,” Patrick said. “This was going to happen at some point. These men were going to use a trigger moment.”
Patrick added that police might not continue to protect civilians if if such attacks persisted.
“Spouses of husbands and wives or parents of sons and daughters are going to say, you can't do this as a career,” Patrick said. “Or men and women who serve — black, brown, white, Asian, all reflecting our community — are going to say, ‘I have a family I have to protect.’”
“We have to have their back,” he added. “I'm sick and tired of those who are protesting our police and putting their lives in danger. ... This has got to stop and needs to stop now.”