Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas called out the protesters who ran away from the gunfire that killed five police officers at an otherwise peaceful Dallas protest against police brutality.
"All those protesters last night, they turned around and ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to protect them," Patrick said on Fox News on July 8. "What hypocrites!"
Following the video-recorded deaths of two black men, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5 and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on July 6, at the hands of police, Dallas residents gathered and marched in solidarity.
But the July 7 protest took a nightmarish turn when a sniper opened fire at the police officers present, notes The Dallas Morning News.
Patrick said "people on social media" who express "hatred toward police" are partially to blame, as are Black Lives Matter protests.
"I understand the First Amendment," Patrick said, according to CNN. "I understand freedom of speech and I defend it. It is in our Constitution and is in our soul, but you can't go out on social media and mainstream media and everywhere else and say that the police are racist or the police are hateful or the police are killers."
The Republican politician went on to add that, when it comes to law enforcement, Americans "have to have their back," adding that he is "sick and tired of those who are protesting our police and putting their lives in danger."
Patrick's words came shortly after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released an open letter on the tragedy, calling on law enforcement to bring those involved to justice.
"Every life matters," Abbott wrote. "With each innocent life lost, we lose more of our humanity. It is time for us to unite as Texans, as Americans, to say no more."
Abbott went on to say that his administration will no longer "tolerate disrespect for those who serve."
"In times like this we must remember – and emphasize – the importance of uniting as Americans," Abbott wrote in a July 7 statement on his Twitter page.
Abbott and Patrick did not comment on the deaths of Sterling and Castile.