Washington, July 18: US President Barack Obama on Sunday urged Americans to avoid making inflammatory rhetoric after the killing of three police officers in the state of Louisiana.
In a speech delivered from the White House on the shooting in Baton Rouge, Obama acknowledged that divisions existed in the US, but everyone should now “focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further”.
Three police officers were killed and three others were wounded in a shooting incident in Baton Rouge on Sunday. This is the second major incident of police killings that have occurred in the US in the past weeks.
On July 7, a black gunman killed five police officers and wounded nine others in Dallas, Texas, Xinhua news agency reported.
The two incidents were preceded by the killings of two black men by police officers, one in Baton Rouge and another in St. Paul, Minnesota. The incidents triggered off widespread black protests against police brutality and racial discrimination in the country.
The motive of the latest police killing remains unclear as investigation is ongoing. The shooter has been identified as Gavin Long, 29-year-old black male from Kansas city, Missouri.
With mind on the upcoming national conventions to be held by the Republican and Democratic parties to select their nominees for this year’s presidential race, Obama said that the “political rhetoric tends to be more overheated than usual”.
“We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance the agenda,” Xinhua news agency quoted Obama as saying.
In light of the latest incidents, gun control and racial tensions are expected to become one of major debate points in this year’s US presidential race.
Reacting to the latest shooting, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump blamed it on the “lack of leadership”.
“How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order,” Trump said.
Trump is expected to be formally announced the Republican presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention to be held from Monday in Cleveland, Ohio.
For her part, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton called the latest police killings as “devastating”, adding nothing justifies violence and hate.
“Today’s (Sunday) devastating assault on police officers in Baton Rouge is an assault on all of us,” Xinhua news agency quoted Clinton as saying in a statement.
The Democratic National Convention is to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 25-28.