The number of cop-killings has been greatly fueled by officers de-policing due to the growing concerns that anti-police defiance has also been on the rise. Movements such as Black Lives Matter have also fueled the anti-police defiance. This information has been backed by an unclassified FBI study that was conducted on last year’s cop-killings.
The report by the FBI Office of Partner Engagement study reveals that police departments and individual officers have increasingly made the decision to stop engaging in proactive policing. The report was titled as Assailant Study — Mindsets and Behaviors, revealed that the social-justice movement sparked by the 2014 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of an officer in Ferguson, Missouri has made it socially acceptable to challenge and discredit the actions of law enforcement.
The study also pointed out that almost every police official interviewed agreed that for the first time, law enforcement not only felt that their national political leaders stood against them, but also that the politicians’ words and actions signified that disrespect to law enforcement was acceptable in the aftermath of the Brown shooting.
Reports from the FBI spokesman Matthew Bertron said that the study, which was written in April, points out that in response to the above trend, Law enforcement officials believe that defiance and hostility displayed by assailants towards them appears to be the new norm.
The study examined 50 of the 53 incidents last year in which officers were killed in the line of duty, excluding the three cases that involved minors or perpetrators who remain unknown. The majority of assailants who used deadly force against officers did so in an effort to avoid being taken into custody. However, 28 percent were motivated by hatred of police and a desire to kill law enforcement. Some cases were fueled by social and political movements.
The report also pointed out that the assailants were inspired by social and/or political reasons and they believed that attacking police officers was their way to ‘get justice’ for those who had been, in their view, unjustly killed by law enforcement.
The culprits revealed that their temperament toward police was based on their own experiences as well as what they heard and read in the media about other incidents involving law enforcement shootings. The criminals charged in the July 2016 shootings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge said they were influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement and their belief that law enforcement was targeting black males.
Around five officers were killed in the Dallas ambush, which coincided with a protest against police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, while three officers died in the Baton Rouge massacre.
The year 2016 was dreadful for police officers. Sixty-four were shot and killed in the line of duty, a 56 percent increase from 2015. Out of that number, 21 were killed in ambush-style attacks, the highest total in more than two decades, based on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Following Brown shooting, racial tension has been the focus of deadly police encounters, nearly half of the assailants who killed officers in 2016, 48 percent were white. Out of the remaining number, 36 percent were black, 14 percent were Hispanic, and 2 percent were Native Alaskan. Approximately all 86 percent had criminal histories; 60 percent had used drugs, and 32 percent were under the influence at the time of the attack.
Around 26 percent were under active warrants, and 24 percent had known gang affiliations. All were men. The FBI report also found that the trend toward drug decriminalization and reduced sentencing had inspired perpetrators, making them believe that consequences no longer exist for criminal acts, especially drug offenses. The study also showed that the increase in violent attacks on law enforcement has also been linked to the decriminalization of drugs across the country.