Police Fatalities Much Lower Than Under Reagan, Yet Walker Blames Obama

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Police Fatalities Much Lower Than Under Reagan, Yet Walker Blames Obama

Yesterday, in a guest column in the aptly named Hot Air, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker blamed President Obama for the  "disturbing trend of police officers being murdered on the job."

Walker, frantically trying to catch-up to Donald Trump in the not-so-thinly-disguised racism department, says that Obama's "anti-police" and racially-divisive "attitude" is "not the America I grew up in" and caused a throng of Black Lives Matters protesters in St. Paul recently to chant "pigs in a blanket, fry like bacon" at nearby police officers.

All this, according to Walker,  is causing police officers to be murdered on the job like never before.

Let's take a closer look at this "disturbing trend" that is, in Walker's words, "not the America I grew up in. "

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As you can see in the graph above, when Walker was growing up, there were nearly twice as many police shooting fatalities at this point in President Reagan's second term.   In fact, police shooting fatalities are down from last year and are also lower than at this point in Presidents Clinton and Bush's second term in office.

Oh, and...  are you sitting down?  There were racial problems in this country before Obama arrived on the scene.  For example, the Rodney King beating by police and subsequent Los Angeles riots in 1992—far and away the biggest race riot in the last fifty years—happened under Republican President George H.W. Bush and came after eleven-plus years of Reagan-Bush AKA The Walker Wonder Years.

The reality is that African Americans are disproportionately arrested and incarcerated in this country for the same crimes being committed as whites.  And they are much more likely to be killed during the arrest process than whites.

Any president—black or white, Republican or Democrat—should look at this empirical evidence, speak to it, and try to change it, as President Obama has done.

Walker's suggestion that this advocacy has anything to do with police being shot in the line of duty should be seen for what it is:  A desperate candidate using racism to try and revive a presidential campaign that has flat-lined.

Jud Lounsbury

Jud Lounsbury lives on small farm south of Madison, Wisconsin with his family and writes for and the Uppity Wisconsin blog. Follow him on Twitter: @JudLounsbury

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