Law Enforcement Officers Face Violence, Deadly Attacks During Anti-Police Brutality Protests
Does violence against law enforcement officers undermine protests of police brutality?
by Causes | 6.7.20
What’s the story?
- The U.S. is in the midst of its most significant debate on police reform in at least several years following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police officers and the protests across the country it prompted, which in some cases devolved into rioting & looting.
- The unrest has led to further accusations of law enforcement using excessive force, including a recent incident in Buffalo, New York, in which a 75-year old man was hospitalized after being pushed to the ground by two officers, who were suspended & charged with felony assault. Other incidents have involved allegedly unnecessary use of riot control tools, such tear gas & rubber bullets, and they've led to calls for the defunding of the police.
- While there have been numerous, encouraging scenes of unity between law enforcement officers and peaceful protesters, law enforcement officers trying to keep the peace in communities around the nation have also faced attacks in cases where protests devolved into riots. Officers have been injured by thrown projectiles such as bricks, rocks, & frozen water bottles; several have been shot; and several have been run over by vehicles. At least two have been killed, while hundreds have sustained injuries.
Law Enforcement Officers Killed, Injured
- David Underwood (pictured on the left), was killed in the line of duty on May 29th while serving as a Federal Protective Services Officer guarding a federal courthouse during a protest in Oakland, California, in an apparent drive-by shooting. Underwood, 53, is survived by his two siblings and the FBI is investigating his killing as an act of domestic terrorism.
- Police Chief David Dorn (pictured on the right), was killed on June 2nd in St. Louis, Missouri, when he was shot by looters while responding to the burglar alarm of his friend’s pawn shop. A bystander came upon Dorn on the sidewalk while streaming the riots on Facebook and after calling 9-1-1, admonished the attackers saying, “They just killed this old man at the pawn shop over some TVs… c’mon, man, that’s somebody’s granddaddy.” Dorn, 77, rose to the rank of captain during 38 years with the St. Louis Police Department before retiring & serving as the police chief of neighboring town Moline Acres since 2008. He is survived by his wife, five children, and 10 grandchildren. After police offered a reward for information and released surveillance video of seven persons of interest, on June 7th they announced the arrests of two suspects, one faces charges for murder, robbery, burglary, armed criminal action, and being a felon in possession of a firearm; while the other faces charges for burglary, armed criminal action, stealing & unlawful possession of a firearm.
- The same night Dorn was killed, four other police officers were shot in St. Louis while responding to violent protests & looting, although the police chief indicated none of them sustained life-threatening injuries.
- At a protest on June 1st in Las Vegas, Nevada, Officer Shay Mikalonis, 29, was shot in the neck and is in critical condition on life support but is recovering. The suspect has been apprehended and is facing charges of attempted murder & battery with a weapon causing significant injury.
- In Buffalo, New York, on the night of June 1st, an SUV plowed through a line of police officers, injuring three ― State Trooper Ronald Ensminger, Jr., suffered a shattered pelvis & broken leg; Buffalo Police Officer Joseph Walters suffered a broken leg; and Trooper Randall Shenefiel sustained a laceration to his arm but remained on the police line. The incident was captured on video. The driver is facing multiple felony charges of assaulting an officer, weapons charges, and the possession of stolen property; the two passengers face felony charges for illegal possession of a weapon & other outstanding warrants.
- In the Bronx, New York, in the early morning hours of June 2nd, an NYPD sergeant was among the officers responding to looting at a pawn shop and video shot by a neighbor showed him getting hit by a speeding car and launched into another oncoming car before landing in the middle of the intersection. The incident was caught on video, and the officer suffered a head injury & broken leg but was listed in stable condition. The hit-and-run driver & passenger of the car were arrested on June 5th in Columbia, South Carolina; the driver is expected to face charges of attempted murder, while the passenger will face charges of second- and third-degree burglary for the looting.
- In Manhattan, New York, on the night of May 31st, an NYPD Lieutenant James Rodriguez was struck in the head from behind by a brick in an incident that was caught on video. The attack prompted another officer to pull his gun, and before the video of the brick attack which prompted it became public NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio called for that officer to be fired though it was unclear whether he'd seen the full video. Rodriguez suffered a concussion and spoke with NYC's NBC affiliate about getting hit in the head with a brick, “I felt like I got shot... They were throwing rocks, bottles, vacuum cleaners. They threw a moped at us.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: @ACinemaSlice via Twitter)
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