ST. LOUIS, MO –The trend of violence against St. Louis Police Officers seemed to have started shortly after the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May of this year.
Since then, the city of St Louis has seen 9 officers shot in the line of duty, all since June 1st. Sadly, one of those officers died as a result of the shooting.
— KMOX St. Louis News (@kmoxnews) September 14, 2020
On September 14th, St. Louis Police released photographs of the bullet damage to one its police vehicles after a suspect shot at the car. The photographs show a bullet hole that went through the windshield of the car which struck the officer in the shoulder.
Other pictures showed bullet damage to the light bar on top of the vehicle as well as a headlight.
The incident started over what people often refer to as a ‘routine’ traffic stop, but officers know that there is no such thing as routine in law enforcement.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said that the officer was pulling over an older red Impala which had no license plates before 9:30pm. The car, instead of pulling over, slowed and then sped off causing the officers to chase it.
As the officers were chasing the vehicle, the people inside began firing upon the pursuing officers. Bullets from the gunfire struck the officers car and one of the rounds went through the windshield, striking an officer near 20th Street and Prairie Avenue.
Officers continued to look for the vehicle which was later located abandoned.
The officer was transported to the Barnes Jewish Hospital and was listed in stable condition. Thankfully, the injury was not determined to be life-threatening.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden spoke about the ongoing violent attacks against his officers:
“This is an extremely rough time to be a police officer. Officers are trying to do their jobs and they’re coming under gunfire.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson talked about the latest incident in which one of her officers was shot in the line of duty. She said:
“It is fortunate that it wasn’t worse.”
“This is unprecedented violence against the police.”
There were 2 shooting incidents involving @SLMPD officers Sunday evening. An officer is on administrative leave after shooting a man that the officer says pointed a gun at him, and in another incident an officer was shot after making a traffic stop https://t.co/nBz8NpeZIY
— KMOX St. Louis News (@kmoxnews) September 14, 2020
This shooting happened just over two weeks after St. Louis Officer Tamarris Bohannon was shot and killed while looking for a victim in a shooting.
Bohannon had responded to a report of a gunshot victim and was looking for the person when a coward shot him in the head. The officer was transported to the hospital where he later succumbed to the injuries.
With nine active duty police officers in their city being shot since June, Krewson points out something that may not have been considered before, they also had a retired St. Louis Police Captain shot and killed in June. Retired Captain David Dorn had gone to a business and was attempting to protect it from looters when he was shot and killed.
“[I] just can never remember a time when we would have had 9 police officers shot plus a retired officer-10 in total-shot. Two died over just the last 3-plus months.
“We also see a lot of criticism and disrespect of law enforcement. There haven’t been as many consequences for some of this behavior. I think it’s really the whole combination of things.”
“What I want to emphasize is this is the ninth policeman shot since June 1. That’s a very short period of time. In each instance, all the officers were trying to do is just do their jobs and they’re coming under gunfire.”
More horrific violence against police officers last night.
LAST NIGHT: Four police officers shot in St. Louis, MO as "a day of peaceful protests turned violent and destructive." https://t.co/qu1ButigsN
— Andrew Clark (@AndrewHClark) June 2, 2020
Violence against police is certainly increasing throughout the United States.
In Portland alone, there have been over 100 officers that were injured in total over the consecutive nights of rioting. In addition, officers in other riot prone areas, like New York, Chicago, and Seattle, have also seen several officers injured.
In July, St. Louis Chief of Police John Hayden reported on the increasing violent crime in the city and said that running between homicides and protests “is exhausting.”
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief John Hayden told a local reporter that he has circled June 1st on his calendar, the day that marked the beginning of the violent protests that erupted in the city where retired St. Louis police captain, David Dorn, was shot and killed outside of a St. Louis pawn shop.
It was also the same night that four of the Chief’s own officers were shot.
#VIDEO: "Some coward fired shots at officers and now we have 4 in the hospital." St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden gets emotional while discussing his officers shot overnight after protests turned into riots. @WKRN pic.twitter.com/7zAexApPY5
— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWKRN) June 2, 2020
Hayden said that the unrest began with the protests and that he sees a correlation between the protests and the increase in homicides.
Haden addressed the defund the police movement, saying St. Louis currently has 123 unfilled police positions and he said that what is needed to curb the violence was more officers on the streets, not less.
Hayden said that in all of his years of being an officer, not one person he has talked to in the community has ever demanded less police protection. To the contrary, they are requesting more officers on the streets.
Hayden told local Fox2 Now that going into the month of June, the city was one homicide under the count from last year. Now, the city has 26 more homicides than this time last year.
4 lives taken, murdered last night in the city. Praying for this gentleman, Mr. John Hayden – St. Louis City Police Chief https://t.co/UQiCbqZvTL
— Darren Casper (@darrencasper) July 15, 2020
Although he cited the protests and lack of officers as the biggest contributor to the increased crime, he said the coronavirus pandemic has left many people financially strapped, leading to shorter fuses.
He also said:
“At least half of the homicide numbers are drug-related and that many are rooted in domestic disputes or personal quarrels between people who know each other.”
Although Hayden didn’t overtly blame the uptick in violence on the civil unrest alone, he did seem to connect the dots:
“There’s been a big surge where we’re 26 homicides up, year-to-date. This all started six weeks ago.”
Hayden also said his officers are “strapped,” and that morale was down:
“Officers are working 12 hour days and are being stretched emotionally. People are yelling at them and pushing them.”
Hayden called on the community to do more to stem the violence:
“It cannot be a law enforcement piece only. The social services are very helpful. Conflict resolution. We can’t be everywhere every time.”
In a controversial move, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson outed the names and even addresses of at least 10 of the rioters who were calling to defund the police in a June 29 Facebook live briefing on the coronavirus before coming under fire by the ACLU.
Krewson has since publicly apologized.
Activist are occupying the front steps of St. Louis City Hall “until further notice” to call for the resignation of Mayor Lyda Krewson. Police have announced that if the group isn’t out by 10 they’ll be subject to arrest. But people aren’t leaving—tents are being set up. pic.twitter.com/7PCRZx2DBo
— Sophie “a Jewish” Hurwitz (@sophiehurwitz) July 9, 2020
The city’s mayor emphatically said she would not support eliminating the police department, saying in June:
“Do we need to review, engage, report and reform? Of course we do, and we will, but we still believe we need police.”
However, it is unclear whether the mayor will have enough political support to fund the 125 officer vacancies.
“The way we are going to go, though, is to continue to try to find funds for social services.”
John Chasnoff, co-chair of the group Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression, insists there is room in the police budget for social programs, suggesting the 130 unfilled positions may be a starting point to siphon funds.
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Much like in other cities around the nation in this current climate, rather than police officers focusing on the community they are being paid to serve, they are being used as political pawns between city officials and groups that want to defund the police.
For example, authorities executed a search warrant at the St. Louis mansion of the couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who defended their home during a Black Lives Matter protest for the firearms that were pictured in a viral video.
The warrant immediately turned political, sparking a fierce national debate over the right of individuals to protect their own lives and property.
The couple’s attorney, Joel Swartz said:
“Under Missouri law, people who are in reasonable apprehension or fear have the right to take necessary steps to defend themselves.”
St. Louis Couple Who Defended Home Must Now Defend Themselves Against A Political Prosecutor https://t.co/KjaJmif4CW
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) July 15, 2020
Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner issued a statement about the incident saying in part:
“Any attempt to chill (the right to peacefully protest) through intimidation or threat of deadly force will not be tolerated.”
Gardner did not decry the gate that was broken by Black Lives Matter protesters to enter the couple’s private property or the reported threats to the couple.
Nor did she mention the threats of a second attack, to which the police would not respond.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said the prosecutor in the case for Mark and Patricia McCloskey has “a record of making politically motivated decisions not based on the law.”
— The Hill (@thehill) July 15, 2020
Gardner was criticized during her initial run for circuit attorney in 2016 for accepting at least $30,000 from a super PAC belonging to George Soros, who is actively supporting Black Lives Matter, who call for defunding local police departments.
Gardner was also caught lying after attempting to sue police regarding a traffic stop of which she was the subject.
Kim Gardner, the prosecutor going after the McCloskeys, is grossly corrupt. She mishandles cases, routinely dismisses felony charges & is also accused of repeatedly discriminating against white employees.https://t.co/Kijk6iZG1yhttps://t.co/5yEWizDw1Ehttps://t.co/TMYRI8lHgb
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) July 11, 2020
“Kim Gardner has an abysmal record in prosecuting violent crime, has recently released and been complicit in the release of dozens and dozens of inmates who have been charged with violent crimes, and has a record of making politically motivated decisions not based on the law.”
We would have to agree with Mr. Schmitt there.
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