More American police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016 compared to the prior year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Statistics released by the FBI show that 118 cops died last year, up 37 per cent from 86 killed the prior year. While some of those deaths were accidental, the majority – 66 of them – were intentional slayings, up from 41 in 2015.
Guns felled almost all of the officers, according to the FBI, though four of them were deliberately run down by vehicles.
Donald Trump has consistently positioned himself as a staunch law-and-order advocate and has argued since the presidential campaign that policing is unfairly under assault. He has vowed to toughen criminal penalties and said “the attacks on our police must end”.
That rhetoric has paralleled the rise of “Black Lives Matter” movement, which seeks to draw attention to African-Americans who die at the hands of police officers. the In recent weeks, Mr Trump has provoked a furor by lambasting professional athletes who kneel during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions decried the “staggering” numbers on police deaths as “shocking” and “unacceptable” and said the increase vindicates Mr Trump’s approach. Mr Sessions earlier this year directed prosecutors to seek the maximum possible penalties, reversing an Obama-era turn toward leniency for drug offenders.
“Our law enforcement deserves the support of the people they serve”, Mr Sessions said in a statement. “Fortunately we have a President who understands this. President Trump ran for office as a law-and-order candidate; now he is governing as a law-and-order President”.