On Sunday, a gunman opened fire on police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing three and injuring three more. President Obama condemned the violence, which he said "underscores the danger that police across the country confront every single day."
This shooting comes less than two weeks after black men Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were shot and killed by police in Baton Rouge and Minnesota, respectively. Five police officers were killed shortly thereafter at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas.
These events impacted one of the slain Baton Rouge officers, Montrell Jackson, in a deeply personal way.
Jackson, who was 32, made a post on Facebook earlier this month in which he shared what it was like to see news of the recent tragedy as a black police officer. As of now, his powerful words have been shared by more than 4,000 people.
"I'm tired physically and emotionally," Jackson began his post. He went on to write, "I swear to God I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat."
Jackson sent his prayers to those affected by the tragedy and implored, "Please don't let hate infect your heart."
He closed the post by offering a hug to anyone who may need it, adding a police officer and peace sign emoji.
Jackson, the father of a 4-month-old baby boy with his wife, was described by his father-in-law as a "gentle giant" who had been working long hours since Sterling's death sparked protests in Baton Rouge.
About 100 people gathered in Jackson's neighborhood Sunday night for a candlelight vigil in his memory.
The recent shootings have renewed discussion of racism, police brutality, and gun violence in the United States. Jackson's words provide an important and ultimately heartbreaking perspective on the issues.
(H/T: Daily Beast)
Cover image via Wikimedia Commons / Spatms.