Ron Pinkston -- president of Dallas' largest police officers' union, the Dallas Police Association -- is not going to resign. He says so, and Stephen Benavides admits as much. Benavides and the group he often represents, Dallas Communities Organizing for Change, called for Pinkston to quit after he blamed protesters for the shooting deaths of two New York City police officers.
"The people marching in these protests that are calling for killing of officers or the politicians who are slanting against the police, they have blood on their hands," Pinkston says.
Benavides believes Pinkston's comments, in addition to placing blame in the wrong place, put civilians and officers alike at risk.
"It is very dangerous for a police union to blame peaceful protesters who, for all intents and purposes, were completely unrelated to [the New York shooter] in any form or fashion -- there was no evidence to tie this individual to any activists groups in New York City other than a hashtag -- is tenuous at best," Benavides says.
In addition to assigning responsibility to the protesters, Pinkston and the DPA have warned members to be extra vigilant when dealing with the public, that they could be victims of ambushes and intersections or vigilante attacks. He said he doesn't believe the warnings will make DPA officers more apt to get a violent confrontation with members of the Dallas community.
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"We always have to be aware of that in the back of our mind," Pinkston says, "and right now we need to be more aware of that than ever. We're just trying to reinforce what they've already been trained to do."