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Dr. Brian H. Williams: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


A surgeon who treated officers during the attack on police Thursday night in Dallas spoke emotionally about the impact the shootings had on him, as well as the police killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

You can watch the part of Williams speaking at the Monday press conference above.

“It’s much more complicated for me personally because it’s not just about that one night, it’s about the racial undertones that impact all of this,” Williams said of the emotional impact of the shooting. “So it began longer before those cops came through the door that evening. I don’t know what I’m going to do about that, but right now it is certainly a struggle.”

Five police officers were killed and nine others were wounded, along with two civilians, during the attack by a lone gunman at the end of a rally against police violence in Dallas. The gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, told police he was angry about recent police killings and was targeting officers, Police Chief David Brown said. Johnson was killed by police using explosives detonated by a robot after a lengthy standoff, Brown said.

The shootings in Dallas came two days after Alton Sterling was killed by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and one day after Philando Castile was fatally shot by an officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Parts of both of those incidents were caught on video and sparked protests around the country.

Here’s what you need to know about Williams and his statement:


1. ‘This Killing, It Has to Stop … We Have to Come Together & End All This’

Flower, cards, balloons, and candles pile on top of police cruisers outside the Police Headquarters memorial for officers killed in the recent sniper attack in Dallas, Texas on July 10, 2016. (Getty)

Dr. Brian H. Williams spoke about the personal impact the Dallas shootings, and the shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, had on him as a black man and surgeon:

First and foremost I stand with the Dallas Police Department. I stand with law enforcement all over this country. This experience has been very personal for me, in a turning point in my life. There was the added dynamic of officers being shot, we originally cared for multiple gunshot victims. But the preceding days of more black men dying at the hands of police officers affected me. I think the reasons are obvious, I fit that demographic of individuals. But I abhor what has been done to these officers and I grieve with their families.

Williams said he understands the “anger and the frustration and the distrust of law enforcement.”

He later elaborated on his feelings:

There is this dichotomy where I am standing with law enforcement, but I also personally feel and understand that angst that comes when you cross the paths of an officer in uniform and you are fearing for your safety,” Williams, who is also an Air Force veteran, said. “I’ve been there and understand that. But that does not condone disrespecting or killing police officers. It is something I am struggling with constantly and I truly do not know what I’m doing next.

Williams said the officers are not the problem.

“The problem is the lack of open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country. And this killing it has to stop,” Williams said. “Black men dying and being forgotten, people retaliating against the people who are sworn to defend us. We have to come together and end all this.”

Philando Castile: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Philando Castile died after being shot by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, while his girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, captured the aftermath on Facebook Live.

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2. Williams Said the Fact He Wasn’t Able to Save Some of the Officers Weighs on His Mind Constantly

Dallas police work near the scene where Dallas police officers were shot on July 8, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Getty)

Dallas police work near the scene where Dallas police officers were shot on July 8, 2016 in Dallas, Texas. (Getty)

Williams told reporters, “I think about it everyday that I was unable to save those cops when they came here that night. It weighs on my mind constantly.”

He said he wants time off and is tired, but he can’t compare his problems to those who have lost loved ones.

“This is one of the most difficult times of my life, but I recognize whatever I’m going through right now compared to the families of the officers and the victims killed last week is nothing,” Williams said.

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A 37-year-old Baton Rouge, Louisiana, man was fatally shot by police in an incident caught on video by a witness that has sparked protests in the city.

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3. He Said He Wants His Daughter to See Him Interacting With Police in a Positive Way

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Dr. Brian H. Williams. (Twitter)

Williams said he has a daughter.

“I do simple things while I’m out in public,” Williams said. “When I see officers eating at a restaurant, I pick up their tab. I even, one time a year or two ago, I bought one of the Dallas PD officers some ice cream while I was out with my daughter getting ice cream.”

“I want my daughter to see me interacting police that way so she doesn’t grow up with the same burden that I carry, when it comes to interacting with law enforcement,” Williams said. “And I want the Dallas Police to also see me, a black man, and understand that I support you, I will defend you and I will care for you. That doesn’t me that I do not fear you. That doesn’t mean if you approach me, I will not immediately have a visceral reaction and start worrying for my personal safety. But I will control that the best I can and not that let impact how I deal with law enforcement.”

Micah Xavier Johnson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

A 25-year-old U.S. Army veteran who was “upset with white people” has been identified as a suspected gunman who opened fire on police at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas.

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4. He Is a Graduate of the Air Force Academy & Was an Aeronautical Engineer Before Becoming a Surgeon

Williams graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1991.

He then served in the U.S. Air Force from 1991 to 1997 as an aeronautical engineer before pursuing a career as a surgeon, according to his Linkedin page.

He went to the University of South Florida Medical School from 1997 to 2001, before his residency in general surgery at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 2001 to 2008.

He also completed a fellowship program in trauma and surgical critical care at Emory University School of Medicine from 2008 to 2010.

Williams has been at Parkland as an acute care surgeon since 2010. He is also an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

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5. A Trauma Surgeon Who Works With the Police SWAT Team Says ‘We All Look the Same Inside’

Dr. Alex Eastman, a trauma surgeon who is the medical director at the Rees Jones Trauma Center at Parkland Memorial Hospital, works directly with the Dallas SWAT team in the field. He also spoke about the shooting at the Tuesday press conference:

Right now there are people here that need our help. This city needs us to help pressing forward. I think what Brian said is exactly right. This is a time for all of us to come together, because the path forward from here doesn’t involve focusing on how different we are. The path forward involves focusing on how when we have to do what we do, and when you look down on someone who you are exploring in the operating room, we all look the same on the inside, there’s do difference.

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