Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support of H. Res 290, honoring the lives and mourning the loss of four Oakland, California police officers who were murdered earlier this month. Below are the Speaker's remarks.
“Madam Speaker, I join my colleagues in commemorating and honoring the memory of the four Oakland, California police officers, who were senselessly murdered while on duty. I associate myself with the remarks of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the author of this resolution, and join Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher and Congressman Jerry McNerney in remembering these brave heroes.
“Our colleague Congresswoman Lee spelled it out so very well -- the senselessness of these deaths, the heroism of these police officers, and the quality of their lives.
“As elected officials, our first responsibility is to protect the American people -- whether in their homes, their neighborhoods, their communities, or to protect our country as a nation. This is not possible without the heroic courage of our public safety officers in our country.
“Every day when they leave for work, they risk not coming home. I hope that their families don't think of that every day, but on a day in March, this fact was driven home very brutally to four families.
“Madam Speaker, a giant pall hangs over the Bay Area in California. These deaths have hit people very, very hard. And I think you can feel some of that in this chamber this afternoon -- because of these personal losses and the individuals who were killed, and also because of the threat that this is to every public safety officer in our country.
“I'm so proud to be able to speak about this resolution, honoring the lives of and mourning the deaths of four Oakland Police Department officers. Their names have been mentioned, but I think they deserve being mentioned over and over again -- Sergeant Mark Dunakin, Sergeant Ervin Romans, Sergeant Daniel Sakai, and Officer John Hege.
“I hope it is a comfort to their families and to their friends that so many people throughout our country -- starting with the President of the United States, the dignitaries that Congresswoman Lee said were at the service -- and spoke some of them at the service. But probably more important than all of that are all the people -- the everyday people -- in our country and in Oakland and in the Bay Area, who feel this loss very personally.
“In our resolution, we talk about these four brave officers and that their senseless slayings of Sergeants Dunakin, Romans, Sakai and Officer Hege represent the first multiple-fatality shooting of law enforcement officers in the United States in more than a year. And where the killings of these gentlemen represents the deadliest incident in California public safety since the Newhall incidents -- nearly 40 years ago.
“And this senseless killing serves as a reminder that the risks assumed by police officers daily, in serving and protecting their communities, continues to be enormous. This resolution recognizes the bravery, the devotion to duty, and the love of community of these fallen heroes, and that they have forever earned a place in the hearts and memories of the citizens they willingly risked their lives for.
“And in this resolution we say that in the face of the horrible loss, the people of Oakland, California have come together and rededicated themselves to making Oakland a better place. I also want the people of Oakland to know that our entire state feels their pain, prays for their loss, prays for the families of those who are lost, and also extends our sympathy to all of them.
“I think I can say that without any fear of contradiction that as Speaker of the House, I speak for all of us here when we say to those families, ‘Thank you. We're sorry. We're praying for you, and your loved ones will always have a place in our hearts and in history as heroes for our people.'”