Obama on Baton Rouge: ‘Cowards’ attacked police

(PHOTO: MGN Online)

(PHOTO: MGN Online)

By Eric Bradner

CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) — President Barack Obama on Sunday condemned the slayings of three Louisiana law enforcement officers, as he called on the nation to condemn violence against law enforcement.

“We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies violence against law enforcement,” Obama said, speaking from the White House press briefing room. “Attacks on police are an attack on all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible.”

In a written statement earlier in the day, Obama called the incident a “cowardly and reprehensible assault.”

“For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault,” the president said. “These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.”

The shooting deaths of three law enforcement officers, with three more injured, came in Baton Rouge — a city already on edge after an African-American man recently was shot and killed by police.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch also addressed the killings.

“For the second time in two weeks, multiple law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty,” Lynch said in a statement. “There is no place in the United States for such appalling violence, and I condemn these acts in the strongest possible terms. I pledge the full support of the Department of Justice as the investigation unfolds. Our hearts and prayers are with the fallen and wounded officers, their families, and the entire Baton Rouge community in this extraordinarily difficult time.”