Standoff Race, policing, and a deadly assault that gripped a nation

Jamie Thompson

Book - 2020

"On July 7, 2016, hundreds of protesters gathered in Dallas after the shooting of two black men--Philando Castile and Alton Sterling--by white policemen. One hundred Dallas police officers stood guard. At around nine p.m., a gunman opened fire into the line of officers from behind. Five were killed and a dozen more injured. Senior Cpl. Larry Gordon, a black twenty-one year department veteran, managed to keep the shooter talking, in part by bonding with him, to buy the SWAT officers enough t...ime to come up with a strategy to take him out--one that was extremely controversial and unprecedented on American soil. Thompson's intimate portrait of the lives of the shooter and the hostage negotiator, as well as the officers, the black surgeon who operated on them, and their families, gets to the heart of the deeply pressing issue of race and policing in our country. In the aftermath of the shooting, police forces and white and black communities all over the country were left grappling with questions of who our police force protects, what constitutes a threat, and who is entitled to physical safety or self-defense in this country"--

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Subjects
Genres
True crime stories
Published
New York, New York : Henry Holt and Company 2020.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xix, 294 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9781250204219
1250204216
Main Author
Jamie Thompson (author)
  • The negotiator
  • The police chief
  • The protester
  • Dallas SWAT
  • The trauma surgeon
  • Wonder woman
  • Hotspot duty
  • The foxtrots
  • The protest
  • Ambush
  • The offensive
  • Code 100
  • The firefight
  • Baylor Hospital
  • Target identification
  • White Boy Wayne
  • Code yellow
  • Words or weapons
  • The mayor
  • The master breacher
  • "Kill 'em all"
  • Seeing ghosts
  • The wives
  • Mind-set
  • Preparations
  • The Gullah wars
  • Calculations
  • Tying in
  • The thin blue line
  • The toll rises
  • Backup
  • The mother
  • Ready, ready, now
  • After
  • Daybreak
  • The press conference
  • The memorial
  • X
  • The long night
  • Breathe
  • Loss
  • Beginnings
  • Unease
  • The bunker barn
  • Call it out
  • The prairie.
Review by Booklist Reviews

On July 7, 2016, a gunman opened fire on police during a peaceful protest in Dallas to demand justice after a police officer killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop. After exchanging fire, the gunman fled to a nearby building where the SWAT team cornered him for a multi-hour standoff. Journalist Thompson, who won an award for her Dallas Morning News story of the event, chronicles that night moment by moment, depicting the perspectives of a protester, multiple Dallas police and SWAT team officers, a trauma surgeon, Dallas' mayor, and others. Told in evocative detail drawn from hours of body-camera footage and interviews, Standoff is a complex look at a traumatic, life-altering event. Most striking is the viewpoint of Senior Cpl. Larry Gordon, SWAT negotiator and one of two Black men on the team. Because most of the perspectives come from law enforcement, Standoff at times seems to argue for the continued militarization of police departments. This look at recent history adds to the ongoing conversation around police brutality and racism in the U.S. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Thompson expands her Washington Post coverage of the 2016 Dallas shooting that killed five police officers and injured more at a protest over the killing of two black men by white police officers. With portraits of the shooter, the veteran black officer who (controversially) kept him occupied until SWAT officers could eliminate him, and others, Thompson considers what being safe in this country really means. Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Tensions boiled over during the summer of 2016 as activists and others took to the streets nationwide to protest the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. On July 7, Dallas-area activists planned to protest by marching through the downtown area of the city. By the end of day five, police officers lay dead with several wounded, shot while on duty by a gunman armed with a semiautomatic rifle. In her first book, Thompson, who covered this story for the Washington Post and the Dallas Morning News, takes readers inside the gun battle, which raged over Dallas streets and ended, hours later, with the death of the gunman inside a local community college from an improvised bomb fashioned by Dallas SWAT explosives experts. Thompson conducted in-depth interviews, and reviewed numerous documents and hundreds of hours of camera footage to assemble this detailed account of the tragic events. She explores the thoughts and feelings of the SWAT team members, giving their perspectives greater depth and clarity, while placing the events in their proper context. VERDICT Readers interested in issues of police violence, race relations, and true crime will find this work illuminating.—Chad E. Statler, Westlake Porter P.L., Westlake, OH Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Journalist Thompson debuts with a spellbinding and meticulously researched account of the deadly attack on Dallas law enforcement officers at a July 2016 rally to protest the police shootings of Philando Castile, in Minnesota, and Alton Sterling, in Louisiana. Drawing on interviews and video and audio recordings, Thompson recreates the assault—which killed five police officers, wounded 11 people, and ended with the death of attacker Micah Xavier Johnson by robot-delivered bomb—from the perspectives of key players including Dallas police chief David Brown; SWAT team negotiator Larry Gordon; protester Shetamia Taylor, who was shot in the leg while shielding her son from Johnson's bullets; and trauma surgeon Brian Williams, who operated on the wounded officers. Thompson laces her moment-by-moment rundown of the event with harrowing descriptions of the string of police killings that galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement, and illuminating historical tangents about the JFK assassination, the Attica prison uprising, and the disastrous 1985 police bombing of a black activist group's headquarters in Philadelphia. Throughout, she spotlights the complexities of the racial dynamics involved, noting, for example, that Williams, "the only black doctor on a team of twelve trauma surgeons," both sympathized with Johnson's anger over police killings of black men and tried to save the lives of the white cops he targeted. This standout account is both a riveting page-turner and a nuanced portrait of one of contemporary America's most divisive social issues. (Sept.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An award-winning journalist documents the July 2016 shooting outside El Centro College in Dallas, offering character portraits of its first responders, negotiator, doctors and victims while examining how the tragedy reflects ongoing challenges in racial injustice and law enforcement.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"On July 7, 2016, hundreds of protesters gathered in Dallas after the shooting of two black men-Philando Castile and Alton Sterling-by white policemen. One hundred Dallas police officers stood guard. At around nine p.m., a gunman opened fire into the line of officers from behind. Five were killed and a dozen more injured. Senior Cpl. Larry Gordon, a black twenty-one year department veteran, managed to keep the shooter talking, in part by bonding with him, to buy the SWAT officers enough time to come up with a strategy to take him out-one that was extremely controversial and unprecedented on American soil. Thompson's intimate portrait of the lives of the shooter and the hostage negotiator, as well as the officers, the black surgeon who operated on them, and their families, gets to the heart of the deeply pressing issue of race and policing in our country. In the aftermath of the shooting, police forces and white and black communities all over the country were left grappling with questions of who our police force protects, what constitutes a threat, and who is entitled to physical safety or self-defense in this country"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Standoff is award-winning journalist Jamie Thompson's gripping account of a deadly night in Dallas, told through the eyes of those at the center of the events, who offer a nuanced look at race and policing in AmericaOn the evening of July 7, 2016, protesters gathered in cities across the nation after police shot two black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. As officers patrolled a march in Dallas, a young man stepped out of an SUV wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a high-powered rifle. He killed five officers and wounded eleven others. It fell to a small group of cops to corner the shooter inside a community college, where a fierce gun battle was followed by a stalemate. Crisis negotiator Larry Gordon, a 21-year department veteran, spent hours bonding with the gunman—over childhood ghosts and death and shared experiences of racial injustice in America—while his colleagues devised an unprecedented plan to bring the night to its dramatic end. Thompson’s minute-by-minute account includes intimate portrayals of the negotiator, a surgeon who operated on the fallen officers, a mother of four shot down in the street, and the SWAT officers tasked with stopping the gunman. This is a deeply affecting story of real people navigating a terrifying crisis and a city's attempts to heal its divisions.