Police shootings highlight the rise in violence and mistrust


In the span of 24 hours last Wednesday, several police officers from departments across the country were shot in the line of duty.

In Decatur, Illinois, two police officers were shot during a traffic stop, and officers shot and killed the suspect, police said.

In Philadelphia, three SWAT team members were shot while executing a warrant, and officers shot and killed the subject, the officials said.

And in Bristol, Connecticut, three officers were shot — two dead — while responding to a report of a domestic disturbance in an ambush, and the surviving officer shot and killed the subject, police said.

The suspect fired more than 80 shots at police, according to a news release from the Connecticut inspector general’s office.

A total of 13 policemen were shot dead between Monday and Friday of last week, as the level of violence against law enforcement increased this year. From the beginning of the year to September 30, 252 officers were shot, including 50 deaths, according to the Fraternal Order of Police, the organization that represents US police. (FBI figures show 49 shooting deaths.)

The number of officers shot has increased by 5% compared to the same period in 2021 and by 6% compared to the same period in 2020, according to the organization’s data. Last year, 73 agents were intentionally killed in the line of duty, the most since the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to FBI data.

“I’m angry. I’m sick of it. “I’m wondering where the level of anger and frustration is outside of the law enforcement community,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

The increase in violence against the police in recent years is the largest increase in shootings and violence in the US since 2020.

Criminology experts such as Thomas Abt, a senior member of the Criminal Justice Council, have cited a number of possible explanations: the breakdown of social connections due to the Covid-19 pandemic; The killing of George Floyd and the resulting rise in public distrust of the police and the increase in the sale and ownership of firearms.

While explanations for violent crime vary, the FBI has tried to explain why some people attack the police. A 2016 report, summarized in an FBI document released to law enforcement agencies in May 2017, looked at 50 police shootings and found that the two main motivations for the attackers were a desire to evade arrest (40%) and hatred of the police. 28%).

There have been 63 “ambush-like” attacks on officers this year, resulting in 93 officers being shot, including 24 fatalities, according to the Fraternal Order of Police.

Officials said last week’s fatal shooting in Bristol, which left two officers dead and one seriously injured, was one such incident. Police received a 911 call about a possible domestic dispute between two siblings and arrived to find a suspect who had shot them, authorities said. Officials called the 911 call “a deliberate act of law enforcement.”

Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould said the fallen officers represented the courage of police officers, as countless officers do every day.

“They answered a call of duty, and they certainly did,” he said. “And what they did every night before that. And that’s what all our officers do and will continue to do.”

There are also risks for those officers who are not on duty. In Raleigh, North Carolina, on Thursday, a 15-year-old shot and killed five people, including Gabriel Torres, a 29-year-old police officer who was on his way to work. Two people, including a responding officer, were also shot and wounded. The suspect is hospitalized in critical condition and will be charged as an adult, authorities said.

In one of the four 911 calls obtained by CNN, a caller told a dispatcher that the shooter was wearing camouflage and appeared to be 16 years old.

Outlaw, the Philadelphia police commissioner, said he felt a pit in his stomach when he learned last week that three officers in his department had been shot.

“We signed up for this, understanding the risk, understanding the risk, but we didn’t sign up to become martyrs for these jobs. We just didn’t do it,” he said.

“It has to go beyond people like me, police chiefs or superintendents or commissioners who are speaking out against this. Everyone needs to come together and recognize that violence against our police is intolerable just as it is intolerable elsewhere in our communities.”