The FBI claims that one-sided reporting by the mainstream media is causing a rise in hostility and acts of violence committed against law enforcement officials.
A recently unclassified FBI document called “Assailant Study — Mindsets and Behaviors,” claims the agency has ascertained that a constant hammering of negative news coverage is responsible for a recent spike in aggressive attacks waged against police officers.
The report states that the disturbing trend began in the aftermath of officer-involved shootings involving minorities.
As a result, the document came to the conclusion that a heightened level of anti-police sentiment may be the new status quo. And even more disturbingly, the report alleges that most assailants justify anti-police violence as a warranted form of revenge.
Law enforcement officials believe that defiance and hostility displayed by killers toward law enforcement appear to be the new norm, according to the report.
“Due to the coverage of the high-profile police incidents, it appears that immediately following the incidents, assailants were constantly exposed to a singular narrative by news organizations and social media of police misconduct and wrongdoing. In many cases, this singular narrative came from the subject’s friends and family, and witnesses to the incident who often knew the subject, long before law enforcement provided their findings to the public. Without law enforcement and elected officials providing an alternative narrative, assailants developed a distrust of law enforcement, and felt emboldened and justified in using violence against police,” said the agency report.
The study closely examined 50 incidents in which police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2016.
It was a particularly deadly year for law enforcement — 64 officers were killed in direct attacks, a 56 percent jump from 2015, the Washington Times reported.
It was determined that many assailants had two commonalities: a prior criminal history and a history of drug use.
Additionally, it was found that 28 percent of attackers had previously expressed a desire to kill police officers, which usually stemmed from unsavory past experiences that colored their perceptions of police.
The media reportedly played a significant role in continuing to feed the hateful narrative after several high-profile police shootings took place across the country.
“These assailants expressed that they were distrustful of the police due to their previous personal interactions with law enforcement and what they heard and read in the media about other incidents of law enforcement shootings,” the FBI said. “Specifically, in the Dallas, TX and Baton Rouge, LA attacks, the assailants said they were influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement and their belief that law enforcement was targeting black males.”
The FBI concluded that “sympathetic media coverage of anti-police movements” has only fueled the “de-policing” effect happening in law enforcement departments. As such, many officers are either “scared or demoralized” and many have “increasingly made the conscious decision to stop engaging in proactive policing” simply because it is not worth the social and professional ramifications.
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