When two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were shot in an apparent “ambush” on Saturday, it set off a series of events that have left the nation more shaken and more divided than at any other time since the riots began. The violence itself and the anti-cop protests that followed have been swiftly condemned by politicians on both sides of the divide, yet this has not stopped certain elements attempting to play political games.
Both deputies were recent graduates, a female aged 31, and a male aged 24. They were shot at close range as they sat in their squad car. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the officers “sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition.” But their ordeal and that of their families was not over. Protesters soon gathered at the hospital where they blocked entrances and began chanting “death to police,” “kill the police,” and other derogatory terms.
President Trump has called for “swift justice,” and wrote that, “If [the deputies] die, fast trial death penalty for the killer. Only way to stop this!”
Joe Biden released a statement, saying:
“Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on.”
Notably, Biden’s remarks seem to directly tie the shootings in with the lawlessness that has been plaguing American cities since the death of George Floyd. By suggesting that the attempted murders were an “unacceptable” method of pursuing “greater peace and justice,” the presidential hopeful has perhaps inadvertently linked this tragedy to the overarching unrest in the public mind.
With protesters at the hospital screaming, “That’s why you’re dying one by one, you stupid f—s. Y’all gonna die one by one. This ain’t gonna stop,” and “I hope they f—— die,” there does not seem to be much effort to distance themselves from the attack.
Two of the protesters were arrested at the scene: an unidentified man refused a dispersal order and later grappled with the police, and a woman, who, according to reports, interfered with the arrest. She was later identified as a journalist.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, speaking on NBC, said:
“There’s no place in civilized society for anybody to draw an arm and to shoot our law enforcement officers that put their lives on the line … And I won’t ever let a couple [of] voices that not only are uncalled for, but it’s abhorrent to say something like that when we have two deputies, who are sheriff’s deputies, in grave condition.”
There is now a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the capture and conviction of the shooter.
A Rising Tide of Violence
There appears to be a growing use of violence against police officers that has spawned from the riots and protests across the country. In Chicago, officers have been warned by the FBI that 36 different gangs have entered a “shoot-on-sight” pact to open fire on any officer they see with a gun drawn and to film it.
More than 700 police officers have been injured during the unrest that has rocked the nation. Chicago is facing an unheard-of number of both murdered cops, and officers committing suicide. Law enforcement leadership in cities with riots is resigning en masse as members’ ability to effectively police is stripped from them by politicians who refuse to end the carnage.
Until politicians do more than just put out pithy soundbites and platitudes, it will be open season on law enforcement. And that makes everyone less safe.