Fatal shootings of police are up in 2016, and the culprits are overwhelmingly white men.
The facts behind these tragic killings stand in sharp contrast to the claims of some police and right-wing political pundits that have tried to attribute the deaths of officers to the Black Lives Matter movement or the music of pop star Beyoncé.
According to an analysis published Wednesday by Shaun King, the senior justice writer for the New York Daily News, this marks a 59 percent increase from the number of shooting fatalities during the same period of last year.
The Black Lives Matter movement seeks accountability from police in the deaths of black Americans, among other racial justice issues, but police and conservative media outlets have tried to suggest that the movement is making policing less safe. When musician Beyoncé included images of a sinking police car and officers with their hands up in her “Formation” music video, she was widely attacked by Republican politicians and police unions, who have since organized a boycott of her tour.
Black Lives Matter supporters and other advocates for racial justice insist that activists are merely demanding equal human rights, not calling for violence against police. “Contrary to popular belief, despising police brutality does not mean I despise police officers,” King wrote.
But the reality that police are also victims of gun violence reinforces the notion that the mostly-white critics of Black Lives Matter would be better off directing their anger closer to home. King noted that at the time police were first calling for a Beyoncé boycott, seven out of eight officers killed this year had been killed by white men.
That picture has changed little with the slaying of nine more police officers, King wrote:
Seventy-one percent of police who’ve been shot and killed this year weren’t murdered by black men with cornrows or hoodies. They weren’t gunned down by Latino gang members in low-rider drive-bys. Those stereotypes would be too convenient. Instead, 71% of police who’ve been shot and killed so far in 2016 have been killed by good old-fashioned white men.”
Monday afternoon, officers arrested Curtis Ayers, a white man, who was suspected of fatally shooting Brad Lancaster, a Kansas City detective and the most recent victim of police-targeted gun violence in the U.S. King noted the killing occurred at almost the same time Houston Police officers were protesting outside a Beyoncé concert.
King criticized the silence of conservative news outlets like Breitbart and Fox News, as well as GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, in the face of this killing, writing that it suggests “they don’t care so much about police, but about using police deaths like a political football.”
“You best believe that if a 59% rise in the number of police officers shot and killed in the line of duty could be blamed on immigrants, Mexicans, or black folk, it would be a regular conservative talking point,” he added.
King also suggested that attacks on Beyoncé are especially misguided. As of Wednesday afternoon, 367 people have been killed by police in the U.S., seven of whom were black women, according to The Guardian’s project, The Counted. King continued:
It appears that blue lives only matter to popular conservatives when they are taken by somebody they can easily demonize. In the meantime, police groups continue to protest a black woman when a black woman hasn’t killed an officer in years.”
Feature photo | A military honor guard stands by the casket of 33-year-old slain police officer Jason Moszer during his funeral services Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, at Scheels Arena in Fargo. Moszer was shot and killed Feb. 11 while responding to a domestic disturbance. Photo | AP