PHILADELPHIA — Two days after honoring a group of mothers whose children had died at the hands of police or in law enforcement custody, relatives of slain police officers were given a place on the stage of the Democratic National Convention.
The session was led by Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, whose deputies participated in the aftermath of the killing of five Dallas officers earlier this month who had been protecting demonstrators who were protesting police violence.
Some elements of the convention hall were on the verge of erupting, when Valdez began speaking:
“When I told my father I was going to join the police, he got angry. You see, he and my older brothers had been beaten by the police for no legitimate reason. But I stuck with my decision.”
That silenced the dissenters. Said Valdez:
“It’s been a tough time for law enforcement communities all across America that have lost officers to violence. I’ve been trying to make some kind of sense out of it. But violence is not the answer.
“Yelling, screaming and calling each other names is not the way to do it. Talking within your own group in your own way only within groups that understand you leads nowhere. We have to start listening to each other.”
Valdez led the hall in a moment of silence for slain police officers, which was interrupted by two or more voices shouting “black lives matter.” The Dallas County sherrif was followed by family members of three slain police officers. Two of the officers were African-American.
Wayne Walker of Philadelphia remembered how, after his death, she found that her son Moses had bought Christmas presents – in August. “He always planned ahead.”
Wayne and Barbara Owens remembered that their son Derrick joined the Cleveland police force because “he wanted to be part of the solution.”
Jennifer Loudon told of how her husband Thor, an officer in Chicago, once caught a young boy who had stolen a belt. His pants were being held up by a bit of rope. Thor Loudon bought the belt.
The exited with the crowd very much on their side.
Mothers of those who died at the hands of police were a feature of Tuesday’s session. Here’s the lede of a good take by the Los Angeles Times:
As the “Mothers of the Movement” came on stage to talk about the deaths of their children and endorse Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention, chants emerged from the crowd: “Black lives matter!”
Geneva Reed-Veal, standing in a half circle with eight other black mothers, attempted to quiet the audience.
“Give me two moments to tell you how good God is. Give me a moment to say thank you,” said Reed-Veal, whose 28-year-old daughter, Sandra Bland, died in jail after being pulled over for a traffic stop in 2015. “We are not standing here because he’s not good. We are standing here because he’s great.”