Sheriff Knezovich addresses comments made during weekend Trump rally
Donald Trump supporters rallied over the weekend to show their support of the new president, but comments made by elected officials during the rally are causing a firestorm online.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich’s comments are getting the most attention. He blamed former president Barack Obama for violence against law enforcement. While most online agreed with Knezovich’s comments, others questioned the accusation.
He wasn’t wearing his sheriff’s uniform nor his sheriff’s badge. He even drove in his own car. But Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich spoke for law enforcement at Saturday’s pro-Trump rally in Spokane Valley, saying he hopes our new president protects our police because he believes our former president didn’t.
“Never in the history of my industry have we actually been hunted and assassinated. And I blame Barack Obama,” Knezovich said to a standing room only crowd.
Monday, Sheriff Knezovich said he’d hoped President Obama would united the country after last year’s attacks on police officers.
“President Obama was perfectly positioned to take this country to a level we’ve never seen before in reference to these issues, but he failed,” Knezovich said.
Last july, the police shootings of two black men in two days made headlines. Alton Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge on July 5 and Philando Castile was killed in Minnesota the next day. Both deaths sparked outrage and protests across the country.
“When people say black lives matter, that doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter. It just means all matter, but right now the big concern is the fact that the data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents,” President Obama said at the time.
In the following days, ambush attacks on police left five officers dead in Dallas and three more in Baton Rouge. Many blamed the Obama administration. Sheriff Knezovich says the attacks made three of his deputies turn in their badges.
“I looked in their eyes and some of them were in tears because they loved what they did, but their families couldn’t handle it anymore,” he said.
But according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the intentional killing of police officers was actually down. That number has fallen during each of the last five presidential administrations. The average number of officers intentionally killed each year is lowest in the Obama administration through 2015.
It’s worth noting the final numbers for 2016 have not yet been finalized. However, 21 officers were shot and killed in ambush-style attacks last year. That’s the highest number in more than two decades.
Sheriff Knezovich said while it’s too early to tell how President Trump will handle these type of attack, he hopes the new president will be even handed across the board. The sheriff promised if Trump misses his chance to heal the nation, Knezovich will speak out against him as well.
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