Seeds: Debates about police brutality have been ongoing for the last two decades. Protesters against police brutality are passionate, and rightfully so, as some police officers clearly do use force in situations where it may not be necessary. At other times, many people see the line in shades of gray. Some believe that in light of these protests, more police officers are being killed in the line of duty. However, this is inaccurate. In fact, over the last forty years the number of police killed has declined steadily. The only statistic increasing is the amount of “ambush killings,” or cops that were killed simply because they were cops, not because they were directly involved in a case. But even these statistics are sometimes unreliable, given that the perpetrator is often dead, and therefore cannot state their motive for killing the cop.
Core: The idea that protest movements sparked cop-hatred is heavily disputed, and some even label these cop-killings as an impending “war on cops.” However, others argue that the violence seen against cops is no different than that of previous years, and that the killings are just more publicized because of the tense relations between the police force and police brutality protesters. The most recent highly-publicized killing was that of Darren Goforth, and his was an “unprovoked, execution-style killing” at a gas station.
Skin: Many of the Republican candidates have been citing violence against police in their speeches, often convincing the American population that this “war on cops is a problem” (58% believe that it is).
Leaves: The fact of the matter is that tensions between protest movements and police officers have increased. Clearly the rhetoric has gotten out of control, making the number of police officers killed appear drastically higher. But if these police officers feel threatened, even if it’s inaccurate, this could lead to them being slightly less forgiving towards protesters. If they feel attacked, they are more likely to be on the defensive. Essentially, it’s a dangerous cycle on both sides, and more awareness for the facts is necessary if we want to avoid future violence.
Food For Thought: Do you think protests are inciting attacks against police? Or do you think that the attacks are just more publicized? Do you think that the police have always had a shaky relationship with protesters?