Black Lives Matters is a theme we hear on almost a daily basis.
That’s fine, as they do matter, just as white lives matter, Asian lives matter, Hispanic lives matter and people of many other races’ lives matter.
We can think of another group of people’s lives who matter just as much as the groups we just mentioned, and that is law enforcement officers.
Their lives matter plenty.
Make no mistake, as we’ve previously stated in an earlier editorial, what happened to George Floyd was wrong and we hope that justice is swiftly served in that case as well as the case in the shooting death in Louisville of Breonna Taylor.
In any business, there are unfortunately going to be a few bad apples who spoil the bunch, with the police being no exception.
Having said that, the majority of police officers and others in law enforcement are good people who perform a very dangerous job on a daily basis protecting us and in some cases, sadly, losing their lives in the line of duty.
Law enforcement officers are to be respected, not disrespected. What we have witnessed in past years in Ferguson, Mo., and other places has been a total disrespect for law enforcement officials. This is completely unacceptable.
Since the unfortunate deaths of Floyd and Taylor, we have watched as criminals have burned down parts of their own cities and looted businesses in those cities. We have seen them show a total disrespect for law enforcement officials by spitting in their faces, throwing water bottles filled with concrete at them, throwing molotov cocktails in their direction, hitting police officers and Secret Service agents in the heads with bricks and in several cases killing and severely wounding police officers.
All of these criminal acts upon our police across the country are shameful ones committed by criminals who have no respect for law enforcement who are simply out on the front lines during a lot of these unruly protests just trying to do their jobs.
We would be living in a dream world to suddenly think that these criminals will suddenly respect members of law enforcement and that is a real shame because police officers are our friends, not our enemies.
One only has to look at the deaths and injuries to law enforcement since all of these protests began.
Retired St. Louis police Capt. David Dorn was killed in that city June 2 when he was responding to an alarm at a pawnshop during the early morning hours. About 55 businesses in that city were burglarized and had property damage that night. A suspect is in custody for the murder of Dorn.
Las Vegas police Officer Shay Mikalonis, 29, was shot June 1 during protests. Mikalonis was shot in the head during a Las Vegas Strip protest of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and is paralyzed from the neck down, on a ventilator and unable to speak. Prosecutors have charged a 20-year-old man with deliberately shooting Mikalonis during the protest.
Between 5 p.m. May 29 and midnight May 31, 130 police officers were injured by protesters during protest in Chicago, a city with one of the highest homicide rate in the country.
More than 700 law enforcement officers have been injured on the job during nationwide protests over the death of Floyd – with nearly 300 of those among New York’s finest. During violent protests in Washington, D.C., another 60 Secret Service agents and 40 U.S. Park Police were also injured – 22 of those officers hospitalized with serious injuries.
Once again, these numbers are highly unacceptable. These police officers who have been killed or injured were simply doing their jobs under very difficult circumstances. Any attack on a law enforcement officer should not be tolerated. Law enforcement officials deserve to be respected for the dangerous jobs they do, not spat upon, cussed at, have bottles and bricks thrown at them, or injured or killed.
We have to restore respect for our law enforcement community. They have earned our respect and we should give it to them. While we know the thugs who continuously repeat their physical attacks on them will likely never change, it would be our hope that more discussion is created about respecting law enforcement rather than beating them down.