“Across the country, 50 police officers were killed by guns in 2014 compared to 32 in 2013, according to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which aims to increase safety for law enforcement officers.”
In August of 2014, the killing of a black youth by Ferguson Missouri police officer Darren Wilson would ignite simmering tensions between sectors of American youth and local law enforcement, setting off a firestorm of civil unrest and protests which became increasingly violent as the weeks wore on.
Now, in the closing days of 2014, each evening newscast brings viewers new and increasingly uncomfortable scenes of unhappy angry protesters in confrontation with local police and body armored swat teams on the streets of cities across America. What began as a troubling confrontation between 18 year old black teenager Michael Brown and a Ferguson Missouri police officer this summer, ended seconds later with the teen’s death and the sudden fury of the Ferguson suburb where he lived.
Even though it’s been months since the Ferguson event, public outrage over people dying during police confrontations has only escalated. Many news outlets have certainly played their part in keeping America’s young people whipped up and heading to the streets, covering every protest with ample coverage which often continued for days on end without ceasing.
More people have been shot since the seminal “Ferguson” event, both civilians and cops. In fact, a quick perusal of any given day’s news stories will produce so many new reports of deaths by gun violence occurring between the general public and police officers, it’s a struggle to keep up.
I was still compiling this report when the story appeared on evening news broadcasts. These are the numbers and they are not good.
(Reuters) – Gun related deaths of U.S. law enforcement officers rose by 56 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year, with about one-third of officers killed in an ambush, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said on Tuesday.
“Across the country, 50 officers were killed by guns in 2014 compared to 32 in 2013, according to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which aims to increase safety for law enforcement officers.”
The most deadly states were California, Texas, New York, Florida and Georgia, the group said.
“Fifteen officers were shot and killed in ambush, more than any other circumstance of fatal shootings in 2014,” the website said.
The deadly ambush of two New York City policemen as they sat in their squad car in New York on Dec. 20 was a flashpoint in a deepening rift between the city’s police department and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The mayor had expressed qualified support for protests sparked by the deaths of unarmed black men in confrontations with white officers, and said he warned his biracial son of the “dangers he may face” in encountering police officers.
The shooter who killed the two policemen and then himself had written online that he was avenging the deaths of two unarmed black men last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York.
Altogether, 126 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2014, a 24 percent increase from 2013, when 102 officers were killed, the fund said.
The number of firearms-related fatalities matches 2012 statistics, when 50 officers were killed by guns,” the fund said.
The second most common cause of death for officers in 2014 was traffic-related incidents.
(Cited article re-posted from Reuter’s News on 12.29.2014: Original reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Bill Trott)