Soon after Attorney General Eric Holder called a sharp rise in the number of cops killed on the job “simply unacceptable” and vowed action, a young Athens, Ga., police officer died after getting into a gunfight with a grudge-carrying carjacker on Tuesday, says the Christian Science Monitor. Holder’s vow – at a meeting with police chiefs at the Justice Department – underscores that many in the police community are worried about a looming “war on cops” in line with what some experts say is declining respect for law and order – and the federal government.
The rise of right-wing movements like the “sovereign citizens” – two of whom were involved in a double police homicide in 2010 – is part of the equation, as is the easy availability of guns and the willingness of armed citizens to use them. A steady increase in the number of justified homicides by police officers has served to “heighten tension” between cops and the communities they serve, says criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University. Adds Rich Roberts of the International Union of Police Associations: “There is a contingent of malcontents out there who are exceedingly hostile.”