Last week, five Dallas police officers were gunned down in an ambush during a peaceful demonstration. The demonstration was called in the aftermath of two separate police-involved shootings that ended in the deaths of two black men. A number of El Paso elected and law enforcement officials called a news conference to show support for the Dallas Police Department. El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen didn't speak, but after the news conference was being asked a question about the Black Lives Matter group when he said, "Black Lives Matter, as far as I'm concerned is a radical hate group, and for that purpose alone, I think the leadership of this country needs to look a little bit harder at that particular group. The consequences of what we saw in Dallas is due to their efforts." A group of El Paso elected officials and members of the community released a letter to El Paso City Council asking that they repudiate the Chief's statement.

Chief Allen released a statement yesterday about his comments on Friday:

"The remarks I shared after Friday's press conference were made during an emotional time, I hope everyone can respect that.

I am a police officer first and foremost and it truly pains me any time an officer is killed. As Police Chief, the most difficult part of my job has been to notify wives, mothers, fathers and children that their loved one has been killed. I have had to bury five officers during my tenure and I will never forget their faces.

Having to endure that and hearing and seeing the negative actions that are taking place at some "Black Lives Matter" events truly disturb me. For example, in New York City,the protestors were chanting, "What do you want?" and the response was "dead cops."

At another protest in Minnesota, the protestors were chanting "pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon." In Harlem and in Dallas "Black Lives Matter" supporters were cheering after police officers were
killed.

Is anyone stepping up and condemning or even attempting to stop these activities or this kind of rhetoric? NO!

These actions directly and indirectly influence people looking to take part in negative activities.

Our City supports the initial cause for the creation of "Black Lives Matter" but we do not support violence in any shape or form.

Our police forces need to know they have support and wanting "dead cops" is not acceptable. I grew up in the 60's when racial tension was at its height and Martin Luther King was marching and NOT condoning violence in any manner. What is going on today is wrong! I work very hard to ensure accountability among my officers, our discipline boards include police administration as well as civilians.

We do not accept negative actions on the parts of our officers and have put procedures in place to protect our community members as well as our officers.

Now is the time to mourn the loss of the police officers and the individuals that have fallen as part of the tragic shootings across America. There needs to be discussion and scrutiny of the real issues to better address this situation."

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser weighed in on the controversy saying he was disappointed in the officials who criticized Allen over his comments. He also asked why they didn’t reach out to him before they issued their statement. Allen told Leeser that no one who signed the letter had contacted him, but EPISD school board trustee Susie Byrd says she texted Allen directly and when he didn’t respond, she signed the letter. El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar said Monday she would never have gone directly to Chief Allen because it would have been inappropriate for a County official to contact a City employee directly.

It's not known if the subject will be brought up at this week's City Council meeting.