The latest statistics on police deaths show that more officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016 than in the previous year. These numbers, which U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called “shocking” and “unacceptable,” have reportedly stirred up a new vendetta within the Justice Department against violent offenders.
The Staggering Statistics
According to the FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, which was published on Monday, 66 police officers were “feloniously killed” on the job in 2016, representing nearly a 37 percent increase in cop killings all across the nation since 2015.
In fact, the data shows that the U.S. hasn’t experienced such a high rate of officer casualties in two decades.
Most of the police deaths are due to “ambush” situations. In many cases, the killers targeted officers responding to disturbance calls.
Interestingly, the report found that most cop killers are white. It lists 32 Caucasian assailants and 15 black assailants. In around 11 cases, the report did not include the race of the attacker.
Not all police deaths were the result of malicious intent.
Fifty-two officers died in accidents while on duty. This includes cops dying in automobile accidents and by friendly fire.
Even assaults on cops have gone up since the last time the FBI published its morose report.
The latest statistical installation into America’s purported violence against law enforcement shows that around 57,000 cops fell victim to assault last year. This figure represents a 14 percent increase from the 2015 report.
On the heels of the FBI’s latest findings, Attorney General Sessions gave a heaping pile of hail-praise to President Trump. The brown-nosing was for his consistent dedication to fixing policies put into place under the Obama administration. Policies that have caused a national uprising in police deaths.
“Our law enforcement deserves the support of the people they serve,” Sessions said in a statement. “Fortunately we have a president who understands this. President Trump ran for office as a law-and-order candidate; now he is governing as a law-and-order president.
President Trump “stands with our law enforcement 100 percent—and so does this Department of Justice,” Session continued. “That’s one more reason why we’re focused on the president’s goal of reducing violent crime and united with… law enforcement in our shared mission to protect law-abiding people.”
Unfortunately, the Justice Department’s insatiable thirst for taking down violent offenders seems to focus on one goal—a push to ramp up the War on Drugs.
Over the summer, the Trump administration took “War on Drugs” literally.
Trump issued an executive order designed to restore a program that gives state and local law enforcement the power to procure military grade weapons. The order, Sessions told members of the Fraternal Order of Police during a conference in Nashville, “will ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job.”
Controversy Surrounding Police-Use of Military Gear
But as we have learned from the past, police agencies often misuse this kind of military gear. They use it to transform themselves in high-level combatants instead of protectors of the very people who pay their salaries. The gear in question includes armored vehicles and assault weapons.
Civil rights advocates, including Vanita Gupta, who led the civil rights division of the Justice Department while Obama was in office, argued against Trump’s willingness to turn cops into soldiers, saying Obama’s anti-militarization policy, which was put into effect after the Fergusson debacle, was designed to “ensure that police departments had a guardian, not warrior mentality.”
Other supporters argued that it is the people who should be protecting themselves against the police.
“We have an epidemic in the United States of police using excessive force, particularly against people of color, with injuries and deaths mounting,” Kanya Bennett of the American Civil Liberties Union told NPR. “It defies logic to arm the police with weapons of war—grenade launchers, high-caliber assault weapons and more—but that’s precisely what President Trump and Attorney General Sessions have decided to do.”
Final Hit: Jeff Sessions Calls Rise in U.S. Police Deaths ‘Unacceptable’
Some of the latest data from the Washington Post indicates that police officers have already killed 777 people this year. A quarter of the victims suffered from mental illness. At least half had guns.
Most cops believe it is safer to go after petty drug offenders.
FBI data published just last month shows that cops are arresting more people for marijuana-related offenses than the combination of aggravated assault, rape and murder.
The entire situation reveals a desperate need for federal lawmakers and law enforcement to work together on policies that better protect police and the communities they serve.