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Miami Pastors Call For Peace Amid Shootings & Racial Tension

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Pastors from a handful of Miami-area churches gathered outside the Miami Police Department North District substation Friday afternoon.

They called for peace in light of the racially motivated shooting Thursday night that killed five Dallas police officers and injured seven others.

The pastors also spoke out against the shooting deaths of black men in Minnesota and Baton Rouge by police officers.

"We are certainly living in a perilous time right now (of) racial divide," Pastor Steve Caldwell said.

Caldwell urged the community to remain reasoned in their response.

"We have to keep our minds together. We have to have a calmness about us.  Apeaceful protest is what always works, I believe," he said.

The pastors hope the shootings in Dallas do not drive a deeper wedge between police and the African-American communities in the United States.

"The shooter in Dallas does not represent African-Americans anywhere. He is a lone gunman," Pastor Keith Butler said.

Butler said he is a married to a police officer and he expects her to come home each night. He added that he doesn't believe the officers who shot Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge are representative of all police officers either.

"Those three officers that took the life of those two black men are not typical law enforcement officers around the country," he said.

And ultimately, the pastors say, these scenes of violence must not be repeated. They asked for police, community and religious leaders to find common ground to make our streets more peaceful.

"Let's come together, regardless of denominations or beliefs," said Pastor Butler. "Let's work out these issues and let's stand together."

The pastors say they would like to see police officers receive more sensitivity training and for there to be more town hall meetings between police and community members to foster a greater sense of inclusiveness.

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