In a piece entitled Online rants, anti-government radicals fuel fear of U.S. cop killings, Senior National Reporter for Yahoo! Jason Sickles cites the murders of Las Vegas police officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo last month to make the case that there is “an exploding right-wing movement” which is “creating anxiety about attacks against police.”
Sickles notes that cop killer Jerad Miller posted of his intention to murder law enforcement officers on a Facebook page belonging to Cop Block, an organization that encourages citizens to document examples of police brutality. The fact that the organization has over 780,000 Facebook fans, all but one of whom have never murdered a police officer, doesn’t prevent Sickles from honing in on the group as being partly responsible for the deaths of Beck and Soldo.
After spending almost the entire article equating the murders with Cop Block, Sickles then notes that the organization, “encourages the public to submit home videos, photos and stories of rogue officers for discussion.”
The hit piece then broadens out into the wider implication that concerns expressed online about, “the economic crisis, proposed gun control, Barack Obama’s election, NSA spying and the militarization of police,” are intimately connected with violent extremism and attacks against police officers.
The article makes no mention whatsoever of the innumerable examples in recent years of police officers murdering citizens, which far outnumber fatal attacks by citizens against cops.
In comparison, although 2014 saw a spike, the general trend shows that police officers themselves have never been safer in the line of duty, with the number of cops killed by citizens dropping to a 50 year low back in January.
These statistics, none of which were included in Sickles’ smear piece, clearly illustrate that police officers pose a far deadlier violent threat to the American people than vice versa. That doesn’t justify violence against cops, but it does underscore the fact that concerns about police brutality are rooted in a very real problem and cannot be blamed on politically driven arguments about anti-government extremism as Sickles attempts to portray in his factually bankrupt hit piece.