Firearm deaths involving law enforcement officials in the U.S. increased 56 percent in 2014 when compared to the prior year, revealed the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Shockingly, about one-third of the deaths were a result of an ambush. In terms of actual numbers, the report compiled by the organization indicated that 50 officers were killed by guns in 2014, compared to 32 the year before. Of those 50 officers, 15 officers were killed in an ambush.
Though firearm-related violence has been growing in the recent years, last year there was an exceptional escalation in the hatred towards men and women with a badge, owing to multiple issues of alleged police brutality. Following the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and the choke-hold death of Eric Garner by the New York Police Department, anti-police sentiments have been at an all-time high. The violent arrest of Garner, who was supposedly peddling untaxed cigarettes, was recorded on video and later was widely circulated on the internet.
Apparently, using the Garner arrest as the backdrop, dozens of clips featuring police misconduct were extensively circulated on the internet in 2014. These incidents served as the flash-point, feels Craig Floyd, the memorial fund’s chairman.
“We’ve been talking about this well before the Michael Brown and Eric Garner incidents, and the protests over those particular cases—that there has been a very prevalent anti-government sentiment in this country for some time now, and I do believe that anti-government sentiment can influence weak-minded individuals to commit violent acts against law-enforcement officers. That’s at least part of the reason we’re seeing this increase in ambush-style attacks, officers being targeted simply because they’re cops in uniform.”
Fortunately, despite the intensification of firearm attacks against American police officers, gun-related deaths of officers remain below historic highs. In fact, 2014 was lower than the average yearly figures for the past decade.
The report indicated that about 126 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year. That’s a 24 percent increase from the prior year. 2013 witnessed the death of 102 police officers while they were on the job. Surprisingly, while firearms and their unlawful discharge continues to be the leading cause of death, America’s traffic ranks second when it comes to killing police officers. Last year, traffic-related incidents killed 49 officers.
[Image Credit | Elizabeth Lara]