Black Dallas doctor’s conflict: I have my own burdens but they were my patients

When officers who’d been shot by a sniper in downtown Dallas started showing up at Parkland Memorial Hospital, trauma surgeon Dr Brian H. Williams went to work, pushing aside the inner conflict he faces every day as a black man who’s fearful when encountering police. He sees the news about black men dying at the hands of police. He’s had his own encounters with police in which he thought he might die. “All I wanted to do was save those police officers. And we did everything but we couldn’t do it,” he said with a deep sigh.

I admit I have my own burdens that I carry when I deal with law enforcement, but that was not an issue for me at that time. These were my patients.

Dr Brian H. Williams

It was near the end of what had been a peaceful protest against recent fatal police shootings that 25-year-old Micah Johnson, a black Army veteran wielding a semi-automatic rifle, fired on officers who were patrolling the demonstration. Dr Williams reckons he walked back and forth in front of the crowd of officers dozens of times. “I certainly during that time felt the despair they were going through. I knew that they were angry at this assailant. … It was palpable and I felt it,” Dr Williams told the AP. “But I also had a personal understanding of where that (anger against police) all came from. Not that I condone what happened. I certainly abhor the results. But I can see where the roots of that have been laid.”