U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy Friday called for his colleagues in D.C. to overcome partisanship in responding to the latest wave of deadly violence by and against police.
Speaking to a small group of reporters who had gathered at New Haven’s Union Station Friday, where he had just arrived from Manhattan on a 5:27 p.m. Metro North train, Murphy addressed the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile earlier this week by law enforcement officers, as well as Thursday night’s sniper attack in Dallas, Texas, in which five officers were killed.
“There are things we can do to try to stem the rising tide of gun violence,” Murphy said. “There are things we can do to fight against the hatred and the bias that lead people to do unthinkable things. These are tough times ... but we can’t turn this into a political slugfest. We’ve got to find ways to come together.”
In a one-on-one interview with the Independent, Murphy added that he is trying to “connect the dots” between mass shootings, opioid abuse, and a rash of killings that have taken the lives of both black men and police officers for his colleagues in Congress, which he sees as an institution that continues to “sit on its hands and do nothing about gun violence.”
“We have these multiple tragedies that are playing out in this country today,” he said. “From the epidemic of gun violence to the heroin crisis that’s killing hundreds of Connecticut residents every year. What we can’t do is accept this as inevitable. What we can’t do is sit back and feel helpless. There are steps that we can take as a country and as a state so that less people are killed by guns, so that less people overdose. There’s tragedy left and right today. But there’s also tragedy in Washington when we do nothing to try and make sure that these epidemics are curtailed by smart public policy and smart investments.”
“What links New Haven and Dallas is that both communities made efforts to better train police, and make them more sensitive to their communities and the challenges that they face,” he added. “Police officers are faced with a really, really tough job, but training works. It’s worked here, and it frankly worked in Dallas ... I think what Toni [Harp] has done here in New Haven is successful and I hope that people hear that.
“I think what’s really important now is that we not retreat into political corners. That we not just retreat to our own identities. The way in which you overcome hate crimes is to come together and find ways to reduce that bias and discrimination. So these are going to be some very critical days here. I’m going to do my part to make sure that there’s a healing process rather than a process of political ditch digging.”
In response to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, as well as Thursday night’s shooting in Dallas, Texas, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal released the following statements.
“My heart breaks for families who have lost loved ones. All Americans need and deserve impartial and effective law enforcement. Without prejudging the investigations underway, there is no denying the tragedy of these lives gone too soon. These tragedies cry out for justice.
“The heart-wrenching tragedies over the past days test the legal fabric and moral resolve of our great nation. Coming together, we must lock arms and hearts as we seek healing and justice. My heart goes out to the families of five courageous police officers who were killed last night and all who were injured. They were victims of brutal and unconscionable criminal attacks. I am especially saddened that this heinous attack took place as these officers were selflessly protecting their fellow citizens’ ability to exercise a most fundamental right—the right to gather in peaceful protest. With horrific repetition, gun violence continues to take lives—an evil we must root out. I hope that even in the face of the tragedies, our communities continue to come together to begin the difficult work of bringing wrongdoers to justice, healing, and moving forward.”