LISTEN: Black Christian News Network Podcast, 07/08/16, with Daniella Whyte

1. Mirror News – A Facebook page claiming to represent a black power group has posted messages claiming responsibility for the deaths of five police officers in Dallas. Five officers were gunned down by at least two shooters who picked out officers from an ‘elevated position’ – believed to be a multi-storey car park. It came in the week of public outrage over the deaths of two black men shot by police. The so-called Black Power Political Organisation wrote on its Facebook account that it was behind the attack and that ‘more assassinations are coming’. It’s origins and history is not yet known and authorities have not confirmed any political link to the shootings.

2. USA Today – Police are uncovering clues, including bomb-making materials, that show the 25-year-old Army veteran, who went on a shooting rampage killing five police officers downtown, carefully plotted his ambush. Authorities discovered ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a journal detailing combat tactics Friday while searching the home of Micah Xavier Johnson in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, the Dallas Police Department said Friday. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings described the gunman as the lone attacker in the assault late Thursday on police marshaling demonstrators peacefully protesting recent police-involved shootings of African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Seven other officers and two civilians also were wounded.

3. AP – Police say officers have been targeted in Tennessee, Georgia and Missouri in the aftermath of two high-profile killings of black men by law enforcement. The attack in Tennessee occurred hours before the killing of five police officers in Dallas on Thursday night during a protest. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says the attacker told authorities that he was frustrated by the recent killings by police of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Police have not disclosed a motive in Friday’s attacks in Georgia and Missouri, which have been described as ambushes. In a fourth attack early Friday, a motorist fired at a police car as the officer drove by. In all, four officers were wounded. The officer wounded outside St. Louis is in critical but stable condition. The wounded officers are expected to survive.

4. Daily Beast – During an appearance on Fox News, the outspoken conservative smeared the protesters caught in sniper’s crossfire.Texas’s Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has a history of making inflammatory statements at inopportune moments, but his reaction to the killing of five police officers by a sniper at last night’s Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas seemingly goes far beyond what he has said in the past. Speaking to Outnumbered host Harris Faulkner on Fox News Friday afternoon, Patrick said he blames those on social media who expressed “hatred towards police,” along with figures like Jesse Jackson and other Black Lives Matter protesters who have characterized officers as “racist” after repeated police shootings of unarmed black men.

5. CBS – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released the name of the suspect behind Thursday morning’s random shooting in Bristol, TN that claimed the life of an area newspaper carrier and injured three others, including a local police officer. The TBI says 37-year-old Lakeem Keon Scott was armed with at least two weapons, an automatic-style rifle, a pistol and a large amount of ammunition, reports CBS statation WJHL in Tennessee. Preliminary findings indicate Scott may have targeted people and officers after being troubled by recent events involving African-Americans and law enforcement officers in other parts of the country.

6. AP – Snoop Dogg and the Game on Friday led a peaceful unity march of men of color to Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, urging improved relations between police and minority communities. The rappers organized the demonstration hours after five police officers were shot to death in Dallas.

7. Washington Post – Following the killing of at least five police officers in Dallas overnight, a former one-term congressman from Illinois ignited a firestorm with a now-deleted tweet threatening President Obama with “war” and warning Black Lives Matter demonstrators to “watch out.” “3 Dallas cops killed, 7 wounded,” former Rep. Joe Walsh, an Illinois Republican, wrote just before midnight, in a tweet that is no longer on his profile: “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.” The reaction to the tweet was an immediate mix of shock and outrage, as Twitter users assailed Walsh for openly threatening the president and for the racially charged nature of the tweet.

8. NBC News – President Barack Obama will cut short a European trip and will visit Dallas early next week, the White House said Friday. Obama will travel to Spain Saturday as scheduled but will return to Washington Sunday night and then visit Dallas, where 12 police officers were shot in an ambush Thursday. Five officers died. Obama was invited to visit Dallas by the city’s mayor, Mike Rawlings, the White House said. Obama called Dallas’ police chief, David Brown, from Warsaw Friday and offered his condolences on behalf of the country.

9. USA Today – The number of police officers shot and killed in the USA is 44% higher than at this time last year following the Dallas ambush Thursday night that left five officers dead, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The deaths of four Dallas police officers and one Dallas transit officer from sniper fire during a protest in the city Thursday raised the national total of firearm deaths among police to 26. This compares with 18 at this point in time in 2015, said Nick Breul, director of research for the fund in Washington, D.C. Breul said it was also the latest of 11 ambushes of police officers so far this year across the country, already outpacing the eight ambushes of law enforcement that occurred last year.

10. The Verge – Beyoncé led the way yesterday in asking her fans to convert their sorrow and anger at recent police brutality into democratic action by petitioning their state and national lawmakers for change. Today her husband, Jay Z, is joining the effort by releasing a song he says he never got to finish, but which he says would sadly always be relevant. Titled “Spiritual,” the track relates the thoughts and feelings of a black person living in the present United States. Its artwork is a solid black square, illustrating the mourning for the most recent victims, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, as well as the many others. The song arrives at an especially sensitive time in US race relations, which have been further strained with the shooting of 11 police officers guarding a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas.