FBI Director Christopher Wray said Sunday that a combination of the pandemic, lax bail laws, more juveniles committing crime, and interstate gun trafficking is to blame for a recent rise in the murders of police officers, after the bureau revealed 73 cops were killed last year in the line of duty.
‘Violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn’t get enough attention,’ Wray, 55, told 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley when asked about the slayings – the most seen in the US in nearly 30 years.
‘Last year, officers were being killed at a rate of almost one every five days,’ Wray revealed, before offering his reasoning for what’s driving the surge, which serves as a 59 percent jump from 2020.
‘Certainly the pandemic didn’t help,’ Wray said, also referring to a recent 29 percent rise in murder in the US seen during the first year of the pandemic, which saw a staggering 21,570 homicides – nearly 5,000 more than the previous year.
‘We’re seeing more and more juveniles committing violent crime, and that’s certainly an issue,’ the bureau chief told Pelley. ‘We’re seeing a certain amount of gun trafficking, interstate gun trafficking. That’s part of it.
‘And we’re seeing an alarming frequency of some of the worst of the worst getting back out on the streets,’ Wray went on to declare.
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FBI Director Christopher Wray said Sunday on 60 Minutes that the pandemic, lax bail laws, more juveniles committing crime, and interstate gun trafficking are to blame for a recent rise in the murders of officers, after stats revealed 73 cops were killed last year in the line of duty
Concerning the increase in cops being targeted, Wray said: ‘Some of it is tied to the violent crime problem as a whole.’
Wray went on to reveal ‘that an alarming percentage of the 73 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty last year were killed through things like being ambushed or shot while out on patrol.
‘Wearing the badge shouldn’t make you a target,’ Wray then asserted, noting that the lion’s share of the officers had been targeted because they were in uniform.
Gunfire was the leading cause of the officers’ deaths in 2021, with 55 of the 73 officers dying from wounds sustained by a firearm.
The year saw the number of accidental on-duty police deaths increase as well, with 56 officers accidentally killed in the line of duty last year, up from 46 in 2020.
The year also saw the most fatal shootings by police since The Washington Post began tracking the statistic in 2015, when US cops reportedly killed at least 1,055 Americans.
This year, the number of cops shot in the line of duty has risen by a marked 43 percent, from 58 struck by bullets in the first three months of 2021 to 101 during the same period of 2022 – a 43 percent increase.
The number also represents a 63 percent from the same span in 2020.
‘We are in the midst of a real crisis,’ National Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes said in a statement addressing the uptick earlier this month.
‘The violence directed at law enforcement officers is unlike anything I’ve seen in my 36 years of law enforcement,’ the union head, who oversees more than 325000 members, remarked of the slew of slayings.
‘Last year was one of the most dangerous years for law enforcement, with more officers shot in the line of duty since the National Fraternal Order of Police began recording this data.’
During the interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley, Wray was asked about the 59 percent increase in police killings, as well as a recent rise in gun violence and homicides seen across the country
The National Fraternal Order of Police claims that 101 officers have been wounded in the line of duty, with 17 killed through the beginning of April. Those numbers are up 43 percent from the same time period in 2021 and up 63 percent from the same time in 2020
Among this year’s dead are NYPD cops Jason Rivera, left, and Wilbert Mora, right, who were both shot and killed by a suspect in January
Double cop killer Lashawn McNeill, 47, was shot by a third officer on the night of the two fatal shootings, and died three days later
Yoes said that at this rate, they are also outpacing the number of officers killed on the job versus last year.
‘It is important to remember that when we look at these numbers, they represent people who are fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters,’ he said. ‘We must also be aware that the lethality of these attacks would be much greater but for dramatic improvements in medical trauma science and anti-ballistic technology.’
A total of 19 of the 101 officers shot happened in what the FOP calls ‘ambush-style’ attacks that Wray mentioned in his interview – a rise of 36 percent from 2021. Five officers died and 32 were wounded from those attacks.
Perhaps most infamously in January, two NYPD officers were killed in the line of duty, making national headlines and sending President Joe Biden to New York to discuss the killings with new Mayor Eric Adams, himself an ex-cop.
Mora is pictured being laid to rest at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on February 2
Officer Jason Rivera, 22, died the night of the shooting. His partner, Wilbert Mora, 27, was removed from life support four days later.
The officers were fatally wounded after they were called to a Harlem apartment by a woman who said she needed help with her adult son.
Authorities said the man, Lashawn J. McNeil, 47, opened a bedroom door and shot the officers as they walked down a narrow hall.
A third officer shot McNeil as he tried to flee. He died three days later.
New York is among the five states with the highest number of officers killed in 2022, alongside Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Washington.
‘This violence is completely unacceptable,’ Yoes said. ‘It’s a stain on our society, and it must end. It is incumbent upon our elected officials and community leaders to stand up and speak out against the violence against law enforcement officers.’
Homicides and gun violence have risen drastically in recent years, spiking after the highly publicized killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in 2020 and the start of the COVID pandemic.
In total, 346 officers were shot in the line of duty and 63 killed, up from 312 and 47 in 2020. In 2019, 293 officers were shot and 50 were killed, according to the FOP.
‘When homicides go up, more shootings go up, and it contributes to an overall increase in violence and police officers find themselves in the middle of that environment,’ said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).
Last year, 13 cities in the United States shattered their annual homicide records – all Democrat-run bastions that have pushed progressive policies, including Oakland, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon.
In mid-December, Oakland recorded it’s 131st murder of 2021, surpassing the annual homicide rates from the last nine years.
Philadelphia announced its 501st murder on November 26, the highest since 1990. The next day Indianapolis recorded 246 murders, breaking the record from 2020. The city of Columbus, Ohio, hit 179 murders on November 26, the most since the year before. Behind that, Louisville reported its 175th murder on November 24, also surpassing the record it set in 2020.
There has been a marked increase in ‘unprovoked’ attacks on officers that Wray mentioned Sunday.
Twenty five of last year’s felonious killings were ‘unprovoked’ attacks through December 27 of last year, according to the FBI. This is sharp spike in attacks on officers, which are normally reported in single-digits.
An ‘unprovoked’ attack is defined as a situation ‘not prompted by official contact at the time of the incident,’ the FBI states.
Another major driver mentioned by Wray as being behind the burgeoning violence against officers is bail reform laws implemented by progressive district attorneys in the country’s most woke cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – laws that see repeat offenders often convicted of gun crimes back on the streets days after their initial offense.
In LA, woke DA George Gascon faces a recall after murders spiked by 53 per cent in two years, and shooting spiraled by 54 per cent over the same period.
He proposed limiting sentencing enhancements – which see judges banned from adding extra time to prison terms for crimes in addition to the most serious one they’ve been convicted of.
Over in LA, woke Democrat DA George Gascon’s soft-on-crime policies have been blamed for historic spikes in murders and shootings. Gascon is pictured above in December 2021
Gascon has now begun to row back on his policies as they’ve been blamed for emboldening criminals, and leading to brand new crimes such as terrifying ‘follow-home’ robberies, which have hit the cities wealthiest and most influential residents.
Los Angeles saw a 94 percent increase in homicide in 2021 from the year before, the sheriff said.
New York City’s new DA Alvin Bragg has faced similar fury, with New York state governor Kathy Hochul also hobbling woke bail reform laws blamed for a crime spike that has seen 42 percent more criminal incidents in 2022 than during the same time last year, and 30 percent more than 2021.
Illinois, meanwhile, is set to become the first state to end cash bail with a law signed in February, backed by the state’s Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, both Democrats.
Foxx gained notoriety last year when she dropped felony charges against Jussie Smollett, the Empire actor accused of staging a racist, homophobic attack on himself in January 2019.
Crime in Chicago, the state’s most populated city, has meanwhile, surged to frightening new rates not seen in half a decade, after Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed slashing a whopping $80 million from the Chicago Police Department budget in 2020 as part of the city’s Defund the Police movement.
The proposal was later scaled back and 3.33 percent of the budget – or $59 million – was cut.
Months later, violent crimes are still up across the board in Chicago – less than a year after Lightfoot was sworn into office in May 2019.
According to the latest statistics from the city’s police department, Murders are up a whopping 34 percent since 2019 – before the pandemic inspired an influx of crime to plague the city’s streets – with 157 killings recorded since the start of the year, compared to the 116seen in 2019.
In 2021, the city’s murder rate jumped to a high not seen in a quarter of a century, reaching 116 murders within the first three months of the year.
Violent assaults are also up, with more than 100 more cases of aggravated battery taking place this year than in 2021.
Gun violence, meanwhile -arguably the city’s most pressing and prevailing issue – trickled down slightly, from 497 shootings last year to 449 so far in 2022.
However, when compared to shootings seen in 2019, the rate of gun violence has increased astronomically, by a concerning 56 percent.
Chicago has experienced a slight decrease in the amount of homicides this year compared to last, despite other crimes are on the rise
The Black Lives Matter movement, which reached an all-time level of support in 2020 after a multitude of high-profile police killings of black Americans, as well as the defund the police movement, has been blamed for the budding anti-police sentiment seen across the country.
A 2020 Gallup poll recorded the country’s highest rate of anti-police sentiment in history, finding that 52 percent of Americans had lost confidence in the police.
‘For the first time, the percentage of Americans who say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the police has dipped below 50%. It’s now at 48%, and over the 20 years we’ve been tracking this, it’s never been below 50%,’ Steve Crabtree of Gallup noted when commenting on a 2020 Gallup poll.
Those numbers have seen a slight rebound since the poll was conducted in the summer of 2020 but strong anti-police sentiments still linger throughout the country.
While only in the fourth month of the year, 95 police officers in total have been killed in the line of duty in 2022, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
‘We are working very hard with our partners, state and local law enforcement partners, through task forces, task forces all over the country.’ Wray said Sunday about the bureau’s efforts to combat the crime wave, adding that ‘through surging rapid deployment teams to try to combat violent crime in specific hot spots.
‘Last year I think we arrested something like 15,000 violent gang members around the country,’ the FBI head said.
‘Part of what fuels us to pursue this mission is our deep conviction that law enforcement’s most sacred duty is to ensure that people can live free from fear in their own homes and neighborhood’s.’
The bureau has since opened an investigation into the increase.
A 2020 study recorded the country’s highest rate of anti-police sentiment in history