The New England Police Benevolent Association boycotted President Barack Obama’s Labor Day breakfast address in Boston to protest the increase in violence against police.
Police are feeling increasingly under siege after a spate of deadly attacks across the nation. In Polk County, Florida, on Sunday morning, a cop was ambushed by a man who was stopped for driving through a stop sign. Three good Samaritans assisted the officer; one said of the incident:
[The perpetrator] slammed the door out on the deputy and then jumped at him and just started wailing and hitting him across the head and just beating him.
In Brooklyn on Sunday evening, “two different hit-and-run drivers injured two different NYPD officers patrolling different parts of the borough.” Also on Sunday, two Las Vegas Metro Police Department officers were ambushed while sitting in their patrol car at a traffic light. One of the officers was shot in the hand during the attack.
Twenty-four law enforcement officers have been killed by gunfire so far this year. Jerry Flynn, the union’s executive director, called this spike in violence against cops a “horror show.” Via the Boston Herald:
“Our members are enraged at his lack of support of law enforcement. It’s clear that he has an agenda, and unfortunately the police are not part of his agenda.
Let’s face it, (there have been) eight people killed in a nine-day period, eight police officers, and his silence up until recently has been deafening. And the real sad part of this — and when I went to the White House in the first term with (Vice President) Joe Biden — he said to me that he would be the voice of law enforcement. Well, as much as I love and adore Joe, his voice has been silent as well. So it’s not an Obama problem, it’s an administration problem.
This is a horror show, this is an epidemic of lawless people trying to kill police officers for no apparent reasons. Case in point is the lieutenant who was pumping gas in Houston. Over 7,000 people were at that church, and where was he (Obama)? Why wasn’t he there instead of a unity breakfast?”
Referring to the looting and destruction in Ferguson, Mo., following the shooting of Michael Brown, Flynn continued:
“I mean, he had the opportunity to do things then and he didn’t, and all he’s done is escalated and allowed these people that are hellbent on causing problems to do so. We can’t continue to have people who have no intention to do anything but to be disruptive. These aren’t good citizens. These are thugs who go out and try to cause problems.
You can’t continue to have this kind of hatred and animosity and the lawlessness that’s going on in this country at the cost of police officers losing their lives. It’s irresponsible of the president and his administration.
Flynn called on Obama to make a statement in support of the police. This president has already done so on several occasions; unfortunately, he has equivocated on the issue. Obama has praised law enforcement in general while critiquing and shaming police for supposed excessive violence. Obama has called for peace and unity while claiming the protesters have a right to be upset.
In an interview with BET, Obama said the majority of law enforcement officials have difficult jobs and “most of them are doing it well,” but “in a lot of cases,” police officers have a “subconscious fear of folks who look different.”
Anything Obama says in support of the police tends to have an extremely unhelpful caveat; in this case he implies that many police are not wise enough to understand they are bigots.
While most labor unions love this president, the few that do not are likely in law enforcement. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol unions have frequently challenged the Obama administration throughout his tenure over immigration enforcement. The nation’s largest police union, the National Fraternal Order of Police, blasted the president in January 2014 for nominating a cop killer’s defender to head the DOJ Civil Rights Division.