Vittert: Attacks on police are part of a larger problem

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — Three police officers have been shot while on duty in the U.S. over the last 24 hours. In one of those shootings, a suspect lured police into an ambush.

That shooting happened in Bristol, Connecticut. A suspect made a phony 911 call, then waited on officers to arrive before opening fire on them with an AR-15.

The police chief in Bristol called it a “senseless act of violence.”

These attacks on police are part of a larger problem. Simply put, says NewsNation’s Leland Vittert, it’s open season on police.

Just this week, four officers died and eight others were hurt in seven different shootings in every corner of the country.

“There is an attack on law enforcement. They demean us and they tell you, you hear elected officials tell you, to fight and resist against law enforcement,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Thursday on NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert.”

Left-leaning networks will report that it’s because there are too many guns in this country; they will make it political. Conservative outlets will say this is all happening because woke prosecutors are letting violent criminals back on the streets, also making it political.

There is plenty of time for that debate. Before anything else, we want to tell you about the men and women killed protecting us.

Myiesha Stewart, a 30-year-old officer, died a shootout in Greenville, Mississippi. She grew up in the city she went on serve in. She went to school at nearby Delta State University where she studied criminal justice and played basketball. She leaves behind a 3-year-old son.

Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould salutes police vehicles in a procession carrying one of his fallen officers at the scene where two police officers killed, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, in Bristol, Conn. The officers were fatally shot and a third wounded while responding to a domestic violence call in Connecticut, authorities said Thursday, amid an exceptionally violent week for officers across the country. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Sgt. Dustin Demonte, 35, and 34-year-old officer Alex Hamzy died in the ambush in Connecticut.

Demonte served on the force for 10.5 years. He also worked as a resource officer at two local schools and was training the next wave of police recruits. He won officer of the year in 2019. He leaves behind two kids and his wife who is expecting another child.

Hamzy was an eight-year veteran of the department. He grew up in Bristol and graduated from a local high school. He leaves behind a wife.

In Las Vegas, 49-year-old Truong Thai died in a shootout that stemmed from a domestic incident. He held various roles during his 23-year career as a police officer. He leaves behind a daughter.

In all of these cases, a family member got the awful knock on the door. It’s pretty standard procedure. It’s happening more frequently in this country.

Intentional killings of law enforcement officers reached a 20-year high last year, according to the FBI.
A total of 73 officers died in felonious killings in the line of duty, he highest total recorded by the agency since 1995.

The number of officers killed in these attacks this year is far higher than in 2020 and 2019 and we’re on pace to see an even higher number of killings; 63 have died already and it’s only October.

We don’t have a clear answer as to why this is happening. The First Deputy Commissioner of Police in Philadelphia John Stanford said this after a gunman shot three of his officers:

“There’s some long-stemming issues that go well beyond the police department, the DA, the criminal justice system, that’s accountability that starts at home,” Stanford said.

Stanford may be onto something, but there are undoubtedly other issues at play here. The president of the Fallen Officer Foundation Demetrick Pennie gave this explanation to Congress earlier this year:

“We can’t allow this irresponsible rhetoric that’s being used to proliferate radical messages online to incite violence against police,” he said. “Because individuals are taking up arms and actually carrying out those attacks.”

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