WASHINGTON - Leaders from the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) gathered in Washington to celebrate the organization's 40th anniversary spoke Sunday about the fatal shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge.
NOBLE President Gregory Thomas said that the celebratory mood of the organization's meeting had turned somber and acknowledged that the tragedy hit close to home.
"Our Region 5 Vice President is a member of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Department, so as he went through the process of looking on his phone you could see his face change," said Thomas. "And my emotions [also] changed, because this is now not an industry issue, it is more of a NOBLE issue."
Thomas then said his colleague had worked personally with the three officers killed in the shooting and called the day a "rollercoaster of emotions."
Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke after Thomas, and expressed grief over the shooting.
"The hearts are made to grieve all over again, to watch grown police citizens from Baton Rouge break down and cry because their fellow officers were killed today," he said.
Jackson then condemned the shooting as separate from the Civil Rights struggle enduring in America today.
"This is not about black and white," he said. "This has no kinship to our Civil Rights struggle."
Jackson also touched on the deadly ambush-style attack on Dallas police ten days earlier, saying that the perpetrator had not been trained by the Civil Rights movement, but by the military.
"We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters, and not die apart as fools," Jackson said.
Later on FOX 5 News at 6, Thomas told anchors Marina Marraco and Jim Lokay that what needs to happen in America involves a deeper, ongoing conversation that won't happen overnight.
Watch the full news conference below.
BATON ROUGE SHOOTING UPDATE: Gregory Thomas, President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke in Washington today about the deadly shooting in Baton Rouge and how NOBLE is working to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. Full coverage of the situation in Baton Rouge: http://bit.ly/29EMrDJ