Po­lice want Obama to cool rhetoric blamed for vi­o­lence Af­ter Texas killing, say cops’ lives mat­ter too

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY AN­DREA NOBLE

Law en­force­ment of­fi­cials are frus­trated by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fail­ure to ad­dress the “anti-cop” rhetoric com­ing from the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment, and some fear it’s pro­mot­ing a cli­mate of vi­o­lence against po­lice of­fi­cers that may have con­trib­uted to the fa­tal am­bush of a Hous­ton sher­iff’s deputy.

Not­ing that Pres­i­dent Obama and other ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials have quickly spo­ken out af­ter shoot­ings in­volv­ing black civil­ians, Ron­ald T. Hosko, pres­i­dent of the Law En­force­ment Le­gal De­fense Fund, said of­fi­cers are yearn­ing to hear sim­i­lar sup­port when of­fi­cers are tar­geted.

“Where are their voices to­day? Who is go­ing to be the adult in the room to pull these groups to­gether?” Mr. Hosko said. “Some­body needs to do it. I don’t see and hear from the pres­i­dent when a cop gets shot and killed.”

Mr. Obama pre­vi­ously worked to bal­ance his tone by prais­ing the work of po­lice of­fi­cers while ac­knowl­edg­ing ten­sions within the mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties they serve — par­tic­u­larly while par­tic­i­pat­ing in events dur­ing Na­tional Po­lice Week this year.

Mr. Obama is­sued a state­ment con­demn­ing the cold-blooded shoot­ing of the Texas deputy, call­ing the killing “an af­front to civ­i­lized so­ci­ety.”

The pres­i­dent also called Kath­leen Go­forth, the widow of Harris County Sher­iff’s Deputy Dar­ren Go­forth, while on Air Force One en route to Alaska. Deputy Go­forth was shot 15 times while pump­ing gas Fri­day night, and in­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve he was tar­geted sim­ply be­cause he was a law en­force­ment of­fi­cer.

“On be­half of the Amer­i­can peo­ple, I of­fered Mrs. Go­forth my con­do­lences, and told her that Michelle and I would keep her and her fam­ily in our prayers. I also promised that I would con­tinue to high­light the un­com­mon brav­ery that po­lice of­fi­cers show in our com­mu­ni­ties ev­ery sin­gle day,” the pres­i­dent said in a state­ment.

But the days of si­lence from the ad­min­is­tra­tion af­ter the killing, fol­lowed Satur­day by a Black Lives Mat­ter protest in Min­nesota that struck a nerve with of­fi­cers, is re­in­forc­ing the feel­ing of many in law en­force­ment that they have been aban­doned.

“Sadly, my sense is that the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment is al­most en­tirely an anti-cop move­ment, and the con­ver­sa­tion has to be big­ger than that,” Mr. Hosko said. “Those pro­po­nents for Black Lives Mat­ter should be big­ger than that.”

Mil­wau­kee County Sher­iff David Clarke has also been crit­i­cal of Mr. Obama, say­ing ac­tions by the pres­i­dent and for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric H. Holder Jr. are akin to en­gag­ing in a “war” on po­lice.

“It’s open sea­son right now. No doubt about it,” Sher­iff Clarke told Fox News this week­end in com­ments sim­i­lar to those he made last year af­ter a fa­tal am­bush of two New York po­lice of­fi­cers.

Anti-po­lice chants by a group of Black Lives Mat­ter protesters at the Min­nesota State Fair on Satur­day — the day af­ter Deputy Go­forth was gunned down — also added to the dis­cord. A con­tin­gent of about 300 protesters marched to the fair, at times chant­ing “Pigs in a blan­ket, fry ’em like ba­con.”

“It’s just out­ra­geously of­fen­sive. It clearly pro­motes a cli­mate of vi­o­lence against cops,” said Dave Ti­tus, pres­i­dent of the Saint Paul Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion.

About 75 St. Paul po­lice of­fi­cers were as­signed to es­cort the de­mon­stra­tors as they headed to the fair, he said.

“We un­der­stand that peo­ple have valid mes­sages,” Mr. Ti­tus said of the na­tional Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment, which is seek­ing re­form in the way po­lice in­ter­act with com­mu­ni­ties of color. “This is not one of them — pro­mot­ing vi­o­lence against po­lice of­fi­cers — es­pe­cially hours af­ter that deputy in Hous­ton was killed.”

Mr. Hosko said part of the prob­lem with the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment is its de­cen­tral­ized ap­proach, which he said al­lows the loud­est and most vo­cal in a com­mu­nity to dom­i­nate ac­tions rather than those with the most thought­ful ap­proach.

Black Lives Mat­ter ac­tivists have sought to de­fend the move­ment from ac­cu­sa­tions that it is to blame for the deadly at­tack in Texas.

“It is sad that some have cho­sen to politi­cize this tragedy by falsely at­tribut­ing the of­fi­cer’s death to a move­ment seek­ing to end vi­o­lence,” prom­i­nent ac­tivist DeRay Mckes­son wrote on his Twit­ter ac­count. “We protest not to af­firm the worth of our lives, but to ex­pose the depth of the evil we face.”

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