According to a recent Pew survey of police officers in the United States, 86 percent say that the high profile shootings of African Americans over the last few years has made their jobs harder. Sixty-eight percent say that protests have been fueled by an anti-police sentiment among the public, as opposed to a legitimate issue with the cases involved.
For months police officers have been providing anecdotal evidence that the increased coverage of fatal police shootings in the United States has impacted their ability to perform their duties. One officer in Chicago said he didn’t draw his gun to defend his own life when he was being savagely beaten because he feared the public outrage that would follow. How many other officers have suffered unnecessarily due to this same concern is unknown.
Reporting by The Washington Post indicates that fatal police shootings have increased in recent years. The Huffington Post notes that the number of African Americans killed by police is more than were lynched in the South — probably saying more about the slant of the author than actually adding to the level of discourse on the subject.
Police officers as a group seem to be vilified for the actions of a handful of bad actors and incidents that were intentionally mischaracterized as misconduct or outright murder. The combination of the two is having a significant impact on peace officers’ ability to do their jobs. Will this trend continue or begin the reverse itself? Will a change of attitude in the White House and Department of Justice have any effect on the situation? Watch this space.