US Law Enforcement Unions Decry 'Defund the Police' for Rise in Assaults on Officers - Report

© REUTERS / TOM BRENNERU.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the 40th annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 16, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the 40th annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 16, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.10.2021
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At the 40th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service in front of the US Capitol on Saturday, Biden paid his respects to fallen police officers. According to the official data, during the years 2019 and 2020, 491 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty.
The "defund the police" campaign and liberal soft-on-crime prosecutors are being blamed by law enforcement officials for the massive surge in assaults and violence against police personnel in 2020, which jumped by over 4,000 attacks from 2019, Fox News reported, citing union leaders and spokespersons.
The officials were discussing the new FBI figures, according to which 60,105 law enforcement officers were assaulted on duty in 2020, with 30.9% – 18,568 – receiving injuries.
According to the FBI, the overall number of officers assaulted increased by 4,071 from 2019, when 56,034 line-of-duty attacks were reported.
Jason Johnson, head of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, attributed the surge in assaults on activist campaigns such as "defund the police," which pushed for the decriminalization of crimes, emboldening criminals and making it more difficult for cops to carry out their duties.

"This spike in assaults on law enforcement officers comes at a time in which law enforcement is seemingly under attack on all fronts," Johnson told Fox News. "Activists have called for (some successfully) de-funding of police, while prosecutors in cities across America have made clear their intention to decriminalize everything from theft to prostitution. It’s hard to imagine the two trends are not closely related."

In his turn, Sheriff Vernon Stanforth of Fayette County, Ohio, president of the National Sheriffs' Association said that although the figures were "horrific and sad," they are "not surprising after seeing this troubling year for law enforcement in 2020."
© AP Photo / John MinchilloIn this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo a protester holds a sign that reads "Defund Police" during a rally for the late George Floyd outside Barclays Center in New York.
In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo a protester holds a sign that reads Defund Police during a rally for the late George Floyd outside Barclays Center in New York. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.10.2021
In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo a protester holds a sign that reads "Defund Police" during a rally for the late George Floyd outside Barclays Center in New York.
Moreover, the growing violence is affecting police recruitment, and any criminal who willfully attacks a police officer should be held accountable under the law, according to Laura Cooper, Executive Director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association.

"Police officers across the country are facing an increase in violent crime and violent acts committed against them. Facing these dangerous situations is another reason why it has been difficult for police agencies to find recruits who want to put on a uniform and put their lives on the line. For those who purposefully attack, assault, or ambush law enforcement, they need to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," she is quoted as saying.

According to a spokesperson for the National Police Association, Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, after the killing of Black man George Floyd in police custody in May 2020, law enforcement officials "were maligned and vilified as violent offenders themselves, when in reality American law enforcement sustained incredible violence themselves."
"With a 30% rise in homicides nationwide, police officers are not a ‘danger’ to their communities, violent criminals are," Smith stressed.
As of Tuesday, the FBI reported that 61 law enforcement personnel have been killed this year, with 24 of them being killed in unprovoked attacks, compared to just 40 fatally wounded in 2020. Another 47 officers died this year due to various accidents.
Morgan Freeman speaks on stage at the 51st NAACP Image Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.10.2021
Morgan Freeman Opposes Defunding Police, Says Their Work Is 'Necessary for Us'
The largest number of cases of attacks on police officers in 2020 occurred during calls for a disturbance of public order (be it a domestic quarrel or a bar fight) - 29.6%. Attempts to arrest suspects in other crimes rank second in terms of the number of attacks, with 16.1%.
And rounding out the top three most common causes of police injury: handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners - 12.6%.
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