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DUTY BOUND

The surgeon who worked to save Dallas officers explains his complicated feelings about police

Heather Landy
By Heather Landy

Editor of Quartz at Work

In the video above, Dallas surgeon Brian H. Williams contributes to a dialogue he says too few people are having, about the impact of race relations in the United States. Williams, who helped police officers who were wounded by a gunman in downtown Dallas on July 7 and brought to nearby Parkland Hospital, called the experience “a turning point” in his life.

He spoke about the emotional weight of being unable to save the officers who died, and of wanting his daughter to have a less complicated relationship with police than he says he has had.

One time, a year or two ago, I bought one of the Dallas PD officers ice cream when I was out with my daughter getting ice cream. I want my daughter to see me interacting with police that way, so she doesn’t grow up with the same burden that I carry when it comes to interacting with law enforcement.

And I want the 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 mean that I do not fear you. That doesn’t mean that 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 let that impact how I deal with law enforcement.

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