Thursday, September 10, 2015

"There is no 'War on Cops'"; There is a Long-Overdue Conversation About Police Brutality - Hit

"There is no 'War on Cops'"; There is a Long-Overdue Conversation About Police Brutality - Hit

by Nick Gillespie

Tomorrow is the funeral service for Harris Country Sheriff Darren Goforth, who a week ago was murdered while filling his police cruiser with gas in Texas. His death was senseless, tragic, and horrific. There's no possible excuse for it. But, as I write in a new Daily Beast column,
There’s also no excuse for attempts by law enforcement, media, and politicians to claim that the unmotivated killing is part of a “war on cops” or in any way related to the Black Lives Matter movement or other people critical of law enforcement and police brutality.
To do so is simply to wave away a decade-long decline in confidence in police that has everything to do with behavior by law enforcement, not the citizens they serve. According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans with “a great deal/quite a lot of confidence” in police has dropped from 64 percent in 2004 to just 52 percent, its lowest number in 22 years.
So far this year, the same number of police nationwide have been killed in the line of duty as last year: between 25 and 28, depending on the source (this doesn't include traffic and other on-the-job accidents unless the officer was in pursuit of or actively engaged in dealing with a criminal). 
As my Reason colleague Ed Krayewski writes, “In 2007, there were 67 cops shot and killed in the line of duty. In 2007 there was no ‘national conversation’ about police reform, no sustained focus on criminal justice reform, nothing in the national zeitgeist that would suggest the number of murders were the result of anything more than the number of people who had killed cops that year.”
Regardless, police spokesmen, Fox News hosts such Sean Hannity, and politicians such as Ted Cruz are quick to say that Goforth's killing by an in-custody suspect with a long rap sheet of violent assaults and mental problems is proof positive of a "war on cops."

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