Obama urges US to 'reject despair' in the wake of Dallas shooting

US president Barack Obama has urged the US to "reject despair" as he paid tribute to five police officers killed during a deadly sniper attack in Dallas, following discussions with law enforcement officials on police reform

US president Barack Obama has been criticised for not doing enough to support the police
US president Barack Obama has been criticised for not doing enough to support the police

During a memorial service in the city of the shooting, US president Barack Obama said that the US must "try to find some meaning amidst our sorrow" and could unite.

Speaking at Morton H Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas on Tuesday, Obama urged the country not to despair.

“Americans are struggling with what has happened in the past week,” he said, “and events appeared to have revealed the deepest fault line of our democracy.”

"I'm here to say we must reject such despair. I'm here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem."

Obama honoured the bravery of police officers and said fewer people were being mourned at the service because of the courage of the officers killed.

The service featured five portraits of the officers and five empty chairs.

Ex-President George W. Bush, a Texan, praised the police, saying that "their courage is our protection and shield."

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings commented on the pain that resonated through the community.

"The soul of our city was pierced,”he said.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, will also hold a private meeting with the families of the victims on Wednesday.

The US has been on edge in the wake of the recent string of violence, with protests over police reform and race relations roiling across the country, with Obama garnering criticism for not doing enough to support the police, many of whom, according to the BBC, say they feel under attack because of the protests and criticism.

Obama and Biden on Monday met with law enforcement officials to discuss police reform and how to repair relations between police officers and the communities they protect.

Micah Johnson killed the five Dallas officers at a protest held over the recent police shootings of African Americans in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Before he was killed by police, Johnson reportedly expressed his anger about the seemingly racially targeted shootings.

Meanwhile, protests over excessive police force against black Americans have been held in cities across the US.