Police Officers, Not Unarmed Black Men, Are Being Killed Wantonly

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

(The opinions expressed in guest op-eds are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.)

Once upon a time, police officers were viewed as heroes by most Americans. Police officers, unlike almost all other professions, literally put their lives on the line every day so the rest of us can live in a safe society.

However, in recent years, police officers have become persona non grata due to a concerted campaign by leftwing groups and the legacy media who aim to portray law enforcement as racist wrongdoers.

Although the left’s crusade to tar and feather police officers has a long and sordid history, it gained mainstream appeal after the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020.

Following the tragic death of Floyd, the “defund the police” movement was born. Groups such as Black Lives Matter were instrumental in perpetuating many myths about police officers, namely that they excessively murder unarmed black men.

Of course, these pernicious lies are completely unfounded. There is not, nor has been, a spate of police officers killing unarmed black men. For instance, in 2021, four unarmed black Americans were shot and killed by police. That same year, seven unarmed white Americans were shot and killed by police.

On the other hand, we have witnessed a huge rise in unprovoked attacks on police officers in recent years.

Consider. In 2021, 73 police officers were killed due to felonious activity, a nearly 60 percent increase from one year ago. What’s more, among the 73 officers killed in the line of duty last year, 24 were killed in unprovoked attacks.

In other words, in 2021, just one year after the George Floyd riots, unprovoked attacks on police officers increased to the highest number on record. For comparison sake, in 2019, seven police officers were killed in unprovoked attacks. In 2020, the number was 10.

Even more shocking, in 2021, eight additional officers were killed during “premediated ambushes,” which means 32 law enforcement officers were basically executed last year.

While it is impossible to determine the degree of causation or correlation concerning the sudden rise of the defund the police movement and the spike in police officer killings, it certainly seems logical that the former is driving the latter.

Even before the 2020 nationwide riots against “systemic police brutality,” the seed had been planted that police officers, by and large, were the bad guys. From the “hands up don’t shoot” lie regarding the death of Michael Brown to the fabrications surrounding the death of Freddie Gray, the mainstream media and leftwing anti-police activists have been quick to throw police under the bus.

It stands to reason that the constant drumbeat of falsehoods regarding police officers over recent years has created a skewed societal mindset, which has led to the current zeitgeist in which far too many police officers are depicted as inherently evil instead of protectors of the community.

Just to show how out-of-touch many Americans, especially those on the left, are in terms of the reality regarding police killings of unarmed blacks, more than 50 percent of Americans who self-identify as “very liberal” believe police officers killed 1,000 or more unarmed black men in 2019.

Even more disturbing, 14 percent of those who call themselves “very liberal” said about 10,000 unarmed black men were killed by cops in 2019 while 8 percent said more than 10,000.

Sadly, the trend of police assassinations does not seem to be abating in 2022. In New York City, two officers were recently killed when they responded to a “routine” domestic disturbance call. Shortly after entering the apartment, both were killed in cold blood.

Throughout history, the collapse of law and order has foreshadowed the breakdown of civilization. If America does not reverse course, the civil society we take for granted could be on the brink.

 Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.