Who Was Brent Thompson? The Dallas Rapid Transit Police Officer Shared The "Police Lives Matter" Message
One of the five Dallas police officers killed Thursday night at a protest in downtown Dallas was identified early Friday morning. Who was Brent Thompson? He served the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and was the first such officer killed in the line of duty since DART police was formed in 1989, the agency said.
The 43-year-old had been with the transit police unit since 2009. Before that he worked for a private military contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq training local police in the tactics of "democratic policing," according to his LinkedIn profile. He was a proud officer, regularly posting on Facebook about his "Brothers and Sisters in Blue."
Thompson was one of four DART officers shot Thursday night. The other three are expected to make a full recovery, the agency said in a statement. The other police officers that were killed worked for the Dallas Police Department. The DART family grieved the loss of Thompson in an official statement from the organization:
As you can imagine, our hearts are broken. This is something that touches every part of our organization. We have received countless expressions of support and sympathy from around the world through the evening. We are grateful for every message. Thank you.
According to his LinkedIn, Thompson attended Navarro College, a two-year junior college in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He later went on to work at his alma mater, teaching at the school's police academy. His LinkedIn says he taught state-mandated courses to both new recruits and veteran officers. From there he moved to DynCorp International, a private American military contractor. He was sent to Afghanistan and Iraq and worked as an international police liaison officer from 2004 to 2008. He trained and mentored Iraqi and Afghan police.
"In all locations we mentored and taught our Iraqi/Afghan counterparts democratic policing, and assisted in the establishment of the police departments in those locations," Thompson wrote on his LinkedIn page.
From DynCorp he moved on to work on the DART police force, charged with protecting the Dallas-Fort Worth transit system. He patrolled the Northwest sector of the transit system, Thompson indicated on LinkedIn. He said he enjoyed the "team atmosphere" of his job and enjoyed working with his peers. "I am constantly looking for different ways to serve the department, this helps to keep my work from becoming sedentary and boring," he wrote.
On Facebook, Thompson's cover photo was of a group of police officers with the words, "All men are created equal ... and then a few become brothers." He also thanked his "Brothers and Sisters in Blue" for their well wishes after a surgery. Notably, he also posted several times that "Police Lives Matter" — a movement created as a response to Black Lives Matter. In one post he wrote, "Although our President, Attorney General, and the great Rev. Al Sharpton don't agree. (But all of the above would call us in an emergency) Law Enforcement Officers lives count too."
The Dallas shooting occurred at a Black Lives Matter protest in response to the police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Castile was killed Wednesday during a traffic stop in Minnesota with his fiancée in the car and her 4-year-old child in the backseat. His fiancée live-streamed the immediate aftermath to Facebook. Sterling was shot dead by police outside a food mart where he was selling CDs.
Thompson was one of five officers killed in the Dallas shooting, among a total of 11 officers who were deliberately shot by multiple snipers.