U.S. police deaths on duty spiked in 2016: FBI

New York Police officers take part in a procession carrying the body of Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo, who was fatally shot in a shootout, at the Jacobi Medical Center in the neighborhood of Bronx in New York, U.S. November 4, 2016. REUTERS

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sixty-six police officers were killed on the job by felons in 2016, up about 61 percent from 41 deaths a year ago, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday.

The number was the second highest since 2011, when 72 officers were killed by felons, according to the FBI report.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement called the numbers “shocking” and “unacceptable,” and said the Justice Department would work toward reducing violent crime.

The findings bolster the so-called Blue Lives Matter movement, which advocates tougher hate-crime sentences for the murder of police officers. It was launched in response to Black Lives Matter, a campaign against police brutality toward black men, and gained momentum last year after police officers were killed in both Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Forty-one officers killed last year were employed by city police departments, and 30 officers were located in the U.S. South, the annual data show.

The most common circumstances involved ambushes, followed by responses to disturbance calls.

Accidental deaths of police officers in 2016 rose to 52 from 45 in 2015, mostly involving vehicles, the data show.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing the Justice Department to develop strategies to better protect law enforcement officials and pursue legislation to increase penalties against those who kill or injure officers in the line of duty.



(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Richard Chang)


California Governor Signs Bill to Tackle Racial Profiling Issue

The “Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015” was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on Saturday. The new law is a step toward combating the nationwide issue of racial bias in law enforcement.

The new law forces police and law enforcement to record demographic data from each stop and make the information public. The information they need to collect includes: time, date, location of the stop, search, seizure, the characteristics of each officer involved in the stop, a description of all persons detained during the stop, language barriers, and the perceived or voluntarily disclosed race, gender, sexual orientation, and/or religion of the person.

Members of Black Lives Matter and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) gathered for the signing of the bill, shouting “This is what democracy looks like,” “Justice, if we don’t get it, shut it down,” “Fight back,” and “Black lives matter,” according to Breitbart News.

Law enforcement officials condemned the act stating that it will add more documentation and paperwork, keeping them from being out in the community.

“It’s a terrible piece of legislation,” said Lt. Steve James, president of the Long Beach Police Officers Assn. and the national trustee for the California Fraternal Order of Police. “We have contact with the public all the time that requires no documentation, no paperwork,” he said. “Now, the amount of time we have to spend doing documentation and paperwork has gone up. The time doing menial tasks has gone up.”

Lt. James added: “There is no racial profiling. There just isn’t,” he said. “There is criminal profiling that exists.”

Lt. Craig Lally, president of the union that represents Los Angeles police officers, called the new law “another one of these feel-good laws” that will be impossible to enforce.

“Sometimes when people get pulled over they claim it’s because they are black, or Hispanic or white,” he said. “Unless you can get into the officer’s mind when he’s doing that traffic stop, there is no way to prove it was because of race — unless he or she admits it…. It is impossible to look at statistics and prove racism.”

Supporters of the bill celebrated the move by California legislation. Studies have shown in the past unarmed black men are more likely to die by police gunfire than unarmed white men.

Rosa Aqeel, the legislative director of PICO California, a faith-based advocacy group that lobbied heavily for the law’s passage, stated the new law would allow officials to quantify data in order to see if racial profiling is happening within law enforcement agencies.

“It creates a set of actual data that will allow us to see where racial profiling is happening,” Aqeel said, describing police officials who deny that racial profiling occurs as out of touch with reality.

“All I can say: Thank God this bill got signed and we’ll be able to look at the data and see what’s really going on,” she said. “We should all want to see the data so we can see how pervasive the problem is.”

“This will provide additional data,” Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State L.A., said of the new law. “If I were law enforcement I’d think of it as an opportunity to demonstrate that I wasn’t racially profiling, that we have a fair and equitable system. The resistance to it signals to me and many others that there is a lot of racial profiling going on.”

The new racial profiling law was one of 13 criminal justice bills that the governor signed over the weekend. Other legislation now requires police officers who wear cameras to follow specific rules on the storage and usage of their videos so it is not mishandled. Another law now requires police agencies to issue annual detailed reports on all cases in which officers used force that results in death or serious injury of the perpetrator.

“If People Truly Believe Black Lives Matter, They Should Protest Abortion”

Pro-abortion groups in Wisconsin are in a tizzy after the sheriff of Milwaukee spoke out in a very pro-life way.

Sheriff David Clarke said that anyone who is protesting with the statement “black lives matter” should be protesting abortion as vigorously as they are supporting Michael Brown or Eric Garner.

“If only these faux protesters were asked by media about all the black on black killing or black babies aborted in US every year,” Clarke told a New York Times journalist.

Clarke didn’t back down when CNN came after him for the statement.

“When I hear these things that black lives matter, the only people who really believe that statement are American police officers who go into American ghettos every day to keep people from killing each other. Alright, so, yes I did send that and I meant it,” Clarke said.  “Look, the abortions?  If black lives—if they really mattered, that’s where the outrage would be that’s where we’d see protests…”

Clarke, a rare conservative voice in the black community, is not the only black leader speaking out regarding abortion and the “black lives matter” movement.

“Mainstream media does everything it can to protect the most racist institution in America that actually kills for a living—the abortion industry,” said Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation. “How sincere is the mantra that #BlackLivesMatter if the violent act of abortion and the disproportionate slaughter of unborn minority children is praised as ‘reproductive justice’?”