Reprinted with permission from Alternet
On Aug. 31, Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden made a speech in Pittsburgh where he said: "More cops have died from COVID this year than have been killed on patrol." Very quickly conservatives everywhere wondered whether or not that could be true. Weren't police officers mostly being gunned down by unarmed Black men or as a result of antifa-related soup can bludgeonings? But it turns out that sadly, the complete failure of our current administration to properly protect the health of Americans from the pandemic has predictably extended towards the state's law enforcement apparatus.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and the Officer Down Memorial Page, at least 101 law enforcement deaths through September have been connected to COVID-19. Gunfire makes up around 35 of the deaths while 33 deaths were connected to vehicular-related accidents. But the false narrative that the Trump administration protects law enforcement first and that police are under fire from the civilian population, not the current administration's greed and inaction, is further undermined by a dip into those numbers.
For one, the COVID-19 deaths recorded, according to NLEOMF, are based on only 20 states' reporting. That means there are potentially considerably more coronavirus-related law enforcement deaths across the country. They also show a decrease of 14 percent in law enforcement deaths from 2019 to 2020—outside of COVID-19. Chief amongst those decreases is a reduction of law enforcement firearm-related deaths. In fact, since the 1970s, law enforcement fatalities have steadily decreased, with spikes correlating pretty directly with times of economic hardship.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page's executive director Chris Cosgriff, the law enforcement death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when all said and done, will likely "surpass 9/11 as the single largest incident cause of death for law enforcement officers." Frankly, that number will soon be surpassed, as the "more than 300" number cited by The Washington Post includes 343 firefighters. According to the ODMP's own tally:
One officer was killed when United Flight 93 crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania as he and other passengers attempted to regain control of the plane from the hijackers. 71 officers were killed when the two World Trade Center buildings collapsed in New York City. Dozens more have passed away in the years following 2001 as the direct result of illnesses contracted while working in the hazardous conditions immediately following the attacks in New York.
Texas has the most COVID-19 law enforcement deaths at 25 and counting. Louisiana comes next with 12. Florida and California both have nine. When you consider that Florida is already cooking its COVID-19 numbers, and California has almost twice as many police officers, it's easy to see how conservative policies affect the true safety of law enforcement.
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