Conservative politicians and commentators are claiming that a recent spate of cop killings means police officers are being “hunted” thanks to the rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement, which criticizes racist policing. One cop even faked his own shooting amid the hubbub, triggering a city-wide manhunt. But despite the fearmongering headlines, the historical trend shows otherwise.
The number of police officers killed on the job has been steadily dropping for decades — after spiking suddenly in the 1970s, when President Richard Nixon began the War on Drugs.
Historically, we are living in an era of police safety. Yet fatal encounters with law enforcement have become commonplace. The past month alone saw 103 people killed by law enforcement. In the first week of September, police killed more civilians than the total number of police officers killed so far this year.