The supervisor said it felt like a more dangerous time to be an officer than it did during the rioting in 2014 over the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Mo., a sentiment echoed by other law enforcement officials.
“In 2014, there were threats of violence, people said all kinds of things,” the supervisor said. “I never felt that nervous.”
Much of policing, like much of politics, is local.
But the outrage over the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis has upended that notion, inciting social unrest and violence that has put urban and suburban police departments across the country on alert. It has been a challenge for officers, at a time when many are also confronting the coronavirus.
“These type of protests take a significant toll on an officer’s mental wellness, and they add so much stress,” said Manny Ramirez, a sergeant with the Fort Worth Police Department and the president of the police officers’ union. “This is Fort Worth, Texas, 1,000 miles away, but yet these officers have become targets for that rage.”
Sgt. Ramirez, 35, was in a command post on Sunday when protesters began hurling frozen water bottles and rocks at officers. One officer was struck on the elbow with a projectile. Another broke his leg while chasing a looter. “There’s got to be some way to ensure that going forward we can have something constructive come out of this,” he said.
In Beverly Hills, Calif., on Tuesday, several hundred chanting protesters were being monitored by the city’s police officers, who closed Rodeo Drive and were flanked by reinforcements in SWAT tactical vehicles.
“I’ve gone home once in the last four days,” said a Los Angeles officer watching the crowd months after having the coronavirus. “My girlfriend had to drop off clothes so I could change. It’s been hell, for everybody. Monsters and Red Bull, that’s the only thing that’s keeping me up.”