Texas Police Union: ‘It’s a Very Tough, Unfriendly World’ for Cops

Memorial Service for five Dallas-area police officers killed in an ambush attack during a Black Lives Matter protest. (AP Photo)
AP Photo

“It’s a very tough, unfriendly world when Politifact starts asking whether we have really lost the most officers, and when a state senator falsely claims Texas has lost more officers in car accidents than gun violence,” the leader of the largest law enforcement union in Texas said. He added that this is the atmosphere in which peace officers now find themselves.

Officer-community tensions have been in the forefront of public and political discussions in the nation after recent high-profile officer shootings, protests, and the violent targeting and execution of officers. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and organizations like Black Lives Matter financed by George Soros, have added to the tension. Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke has called Clinton  “a straight up cop hater” who is “all in with the criminal element.” A leaked memo reveals that Soros is financing a movement towards federally-controlled police.

“The number of police officers killed by gunfire on duty has doubled this year, even as President Barack Obama hinted racism on the part of state and local police officers may contribute to the deaths of African-American civilians during stressful confrontations,” reported Breitbart News.

Charley Wilkison, the executive director of CLEAT (Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas) was “fact-checked” by Politifact on September 19 after he was quoted saying that “Texas has lost the most law enforcement officers in the line of duty of any state in America.”

Wilkison told Politifact that his figures were from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). The names of officers lost in the line of duty, 1,955, is on the Texas Peace Officer Memorial in Austin. Eligibility is determined by the Commission on Law Enforcement under the TCOLE rules. While Wilkison’s number was four higher than this total because of a local police department’s paperwork tardiness, Politifact determined that Texas does in fact lead the nation in the number of officer deaths.

Wilkison’s interview with the Texas Standard occurred after the July ambush of Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest. Wilkison was asked whether there was a “heightened sense of fear since Dallas.”

Breitbart Texas provided coverage of the tragic shootings and the aftermath when suspect Micah X. Johnson killed five police officers and wounded seven others in Dallas. Johnson was killed after officers used a robot to set off a bomb near him. Johnson, a former New Black Panther Party member, said he “wanted to kill white people especially white officers.”

The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) lists Texas as having 1,866 deaths caused by 27 categories of causes of death, 1096 of those were caused by gunfire, 59 were assaults, 75 were vehicular assaults, 48 were vehicular pursuits, and 170 were automobile accidents. The deaths include those dating back as far as 1837. California, New York, Illinois, and Florida had 1,569, 1,568, 1,070, and 757, respectively reported Politifact.

On Tuesday at a Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing, a Democrat state representative who was allowed to sit in on the hearing responded to the number of downed Texas peace officers saying, “Texas is only second to the state of California in officer killings.” Texas State Representative Borris Miles (D-Houston) is the Democratic nominee for a state senate seat and is unopposed in the upcoming general election.

Rep. Miles addressed the senators and the invited witnesses and others gathered there saying, “Mr. Wilkison, you stated that Texas has the largest killing of police officers. While I think it is only fair, respectful, that you tell the other side of that story. That Texas is only second to the state of California in officer killings. Only second to California.” Miles then cited what he said were statistics from 2005 saying that there were 112 killings in the state of Texas by police officers that year. Miles said he has introduced three bills over the last eight years that have been opposed by peace officers. He said the bills involved subpoena powers, penalties against officers who use excessive force, and a bill dealing with the “mental state” of police officers. He said his bills were set for hearings but there was never any action on them.

Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers Union (HPOU) was at the hearing along with other law enforcement leaders, including CLEAT executive director Charley Wilkison and Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). When asked about the comments made by Rep. Miles, Hunt told Breitbart Texas on Wednesday, “I think it is an outrage to compare someone armed and committing a crime, with a peace officer who is enforcing the law and someone is running at them with a gun.”

As to the statement that officers have died in automobile accidents, the HPOU president said, “It is just ignorant to not know the difference between a Code 1 emergency, and the effect on the police department and their families.”

Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) seemed to try to make a distinction by speaking about the difference in the number of police vehicle wrecks versus gun violence committed against police officers. The CLEAT executive director told Breitbart Texas, “The officers that died were not doing less, were not giving less, and their families have not lost less if they were changing a tire for someone and were killed when in service to the community.” He added, “The whole process of denigrating the loss of lives of officers is not new, but it is more pronounced now.”

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice meet to hear invited and public testimony on several interim charges. Their official tasks as stated in the Senate Notice of Public Hearing was to: “review law enforcement efforts to engage community leaders and increase their involvement in communities. Assess dangers to law enforcement officers and the collection and distribution of threat assessment data. Make recommendations to reduce the number of injuries and deaths to or by law enforcement officers.”

Breitbart Texas was at the Waller County, Texas, jail in August 2015 for a Sandra Bland protest when a group of armed members of the New Black Panther Party marched chanting “The revolution is on… Off the pigs,” and “Oink Oink… Bang Bang!”

Less than two weeks later, 30 miles down the road, Deputy Darren Goforth was murdered in cold blood at a gas station. Breitbart Texas reported that the deputy was approached from behind as he walked out of the convenience store in northwest Harris County. He was in uniform at the time of the attack. The deputy was shot 15 times from behind. Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman, and the indictment against the black defendant who is suspected of killing him, stated that Deputy Goforth was executed just because he was a cop.

Although law enforcement officers have been criticized for police shootings, Breitbart News reported “there’s a huge and growing body of statistical and witness evidence that police forces are less likely to shoot blacks than whites when enforcing the law amid disproportionate and growing criminal violence in African-American communities.”

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.


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