Dallas Chief's Stevie Wonder Speech Resonates

Chief David Brown delivered soulful tribute at memorial service
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2016 6:01 AM CDT
Updated Jul 13, 2016 6:25 AM CDT

President Obama delivered a stirring call for unity at Tuesday's memorial service for five slain Dallas police officers, but the city's top cop's soulful tribute is the one getting the most attention. Dallas Police Chief David Brown recited lyrics from Stevie Wonder's "As," explaining that as a young man in the '70s, he used to recite song lyrics to get dates (and when it was love, he "had to dig down deep to get some Stevie Wonder to fully express the love I had")—and he wanted to show some of that love to the officers' families, the Miami Herald reports. "We all know sometimes life's hate and troubles can make you wish you were born in another time and place, but you can bet your lifetimes and twice as double that God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed," recited the chief, who was greeted with a long standing ovation when he rose to speak.

"So make sure when you say you're in it, but not of it, you're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called hell. Change your words into truth and then change that truth into love," the chief continued. He recited several more lines before introducing Obama, who quipped: "Chief Brown, I'm so glad I met Michelle first because she loves Stevie Wonder," Mashable notes. In other coverage:

  • The service at the Meyerson Symphony Center also included an extraordinary performance from gospel singer Gaye Arbuckle. The Dallas Morning News describes her rendition of "Total Praise" by Richard Smallwood as a "healing moment in a service that sought to heal, in whatever way it could."
  • Obama delivered his remarks—which can be seen in full here—next to five chairs empty but for folded American flags as tributes to the fallen officers, ABC News reports. The White House says the president stayed up long into the night to write the speech himself, drawing on the Bible for inspiration.
  • The New York Times reports that Obama's speech was, for the most part, welcomed by law enforcement officials, as was that of George W. Bush. "Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions,” Bush said to applause. "And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose."
(More Dallas police shooting stories.)

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