Spate of Police Shootings Raises Alarm

Officer Deaths in Florida Cap Deadly 24 Hours For Police Departments Across the United States

By TAMARA LUSH and MITCH STACY, Associated Press Writers

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The slaying of two police officers as they helped serve a warrant stunned a state already mourning police deaths in Miami and capped a bloody 24 hours nationwide that saw 11 officers shot in five states.

SWAT team members roll a stretcher after the suspect in the shooting of three law enforcement officers was found dead Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 in south S AP – SWAT team members roll a stretcher after the suspect in the shooting of three law enforcement officers

“That’s not normal,” said Steven Groeninger, a spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks police deaths. “It kind of seems like law enforcement, because of their uniform, have a target on their back.”

So far in January, 14 officers have been killed in the line of duty. Two of the 11 shot between Sunday and Monday have died.

Hydra Lacy Jr.  

This July 20, 2009 Pinellas County Jail booking photograph shows Hydra Lacy Jr. Lacy is said to be the gunman that shot and killed two St. Petersburg, Fla., police officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant early Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. He also shot and wounded a deputy with the U.S. Marshal’s service.

(AP Photo/Pinellas County Jail)

They were St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz, gunned down Monday while helping other officers serve a warrant on a man with a long criminal history.

Jeffrey Yaslowitz  K-9 officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz

This undated photo released by the St. Petersburg Police Dept. photo shows K-9 officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz. Yaslowitz and Sgt. Thomas Baitinger were killedduring a standoff while trying to serve an arrest warrant Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. A third officer was injured.

(AP Photo/St. Petersburg Police Dept.)

Shortly before 7 a.m., a U.S. marshal, a Pinellas County deputy and an undercover St. Petersburg detective went to a home to arrest Hydra Lacy Jr., 39, on an aggravated battery charge. When they learned he was in the attic with a weapon, they summoned backup.

Officials said Yaslowitz, who was just getting off his night shift, and Baitinger responded.

Thomas J. Baitinger  

This undated photo released by the St. Petersburg Police Dept. shows Sgt. Thomas J. Baitinger. Baitinger and K-9 officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz were killedduring a standoff while trying to serve an arrest warrant Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. A third officer was injured.(AP Photo/St. Petersburg Police Dept)

Twenty-two minutes later, gunfire broke out.

When it was over, Baitinger and Yaslowitz were dead and Lacy — the brother of Jeff Lacy, former International Boxing Federation super middleweight champion — lay dead as well, either by his own hand or police bullets. A U.S. marshal whose name was not released was shot twice but was doing fine, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Tom Figmik said.

Armed St. Petersburg, Fla., police officers walk ... 

Armed St. Petersburg, Fla., police officers walk away from the area where three members of law enforcement were shot while trying to serve an arrest warrantMonday, Jan. 24, 2011 in south St. Petersburg, Fla.

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Officials said Lacy had a long record, with convictions for armed robbery and sexual battery. He was listed with the state as a sex offender and had failed to register with authorities in December as required.

Deputies had been seeking him since.

“In my mind as a police officer, this crook, this criminal, this murderer, cop-killer, whatever you would like to call him, did a terrible injustice to two of my people today and two of the people that served this community,” Police Chief Chuck Harmon said during an afternoon news conference.

Police officials salute as the funeral procession carrying two Miami police officers passes. (AP/J Pat Carter)


The officers’ deaths came just four days after two Miami-Dade County detectives were killed by a murder suspect they were trying to arrest. That suspect was killed by another detective.

Those officers were remembered Monday at a funeral where news of the St. Petersburg shootings added to the grief already palpable among the thousands gathered at AmericanAirlines Arena in downtown Miami.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said the 14 January deaths came after a “devastating spike” in law enforcement deaths last year, when 162 officers were killed in the line of duty, up from 117 in 2009. Of the 162 officers, 61 were shot, an increase of 24 percent from 2009.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Memorial Fund Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd said in a news release. “The violent events of the past 24 hours in Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Oregon and Washington have been detrimental to America’s peace officers, taking the lives of two and injuring several others. We must do everything in our power to stop these senseless and heinous crimes against our law enforcement personnel.”

On Sunday, a man opened fire inside a Detroit police precinct, wounding four officers including a commander before he was shot and killed by police. The officers’ injuries were not considered life-threatening, Police Chief Ralph Godbee said.

Also on Sunday, two sheriff’s deputies in Washington state were shot at a Walmart while responding to a call reporting a suspicious person, according to the memorial group. Police officers in both Indianapolis and Lincoln City, Ore., were critically injured in shootings during traffic stops.


One Response to “Spate of Police Shootings Raises Alarm”

  1. Enough Already Says:

    State of Florida to fund charter school for radical who has praised cop killers, mass murderers and crack dealers.

    From the website Yes, But However:

    Yeshitela has been a radical revolutionary for five decades.
    These are Yeshitela’s views, in his own words.

    Regarding a local pastor’s charge that Yeshitela was attempting to incite violence in the community
    We’ve heard these charges coming from Murphy’s church and other negroes that the Uhurus are trying to incite something. They say that after they killed someone in our community, we put out these flyers in an attempt to incite something. They’re right. They’re right because the people need to be incited and excited about murder in our community. People need to be. So we say they will pay a price, and we want you excited by this. We want you incited to do something about this. (The Burning Spear, June 2005)
    On violence against the police
    In order to stop the police from hurting members of the community, people threw rocks and bottles at police to cover people’s escape from the police attack. As the night went on AK-47 fire could be heard as shots were taken at the police helicopter. Other skirmishes with police were reported throughout the night.
    There is a long pattern and history of police murdering African people all across the U.S. There is not a recent pattern however, of a righteously militant response to such murders — except in St. Petersburg, Florida, the headquarters of the Uhuru Movement and the growing resistance to U.S. imperialism and colonialism within U.S. borders.
    In every instance of police murder since the 1996 killing of 18-year-old TyRon Lewis, the justice that the African community has been denied in the courts, has been fought for in the streets. During the rebellions of 1996, which spanned two months, everyday African youth, who were called the “ghostfaces” because they covered their faces with t-shirts and bandannas, shot down a helicopter, burned police substations, media vehicles and anything that represented white power. The masses of people also opened fire on a battle group of 300 police. The ferocity of the community’s organized and calculated strikes against U.S. police troops represents the cutting edge of resistance to a dying but not yet dead North American system of imperialism and colonialism. (The Burning Spear, June 2005)
    In March 2009, Lovelle Mixon, a convicted felon, brutally murdered four Oakland police officers – two during a routine traffic stop, and two when he ambushed police who were trying to arrest him. It was the deadliest attack on California police officers since 1970. Yeshitela praised “brother Lavelle” and taunted the victims’ families by publishing a poem, written by Mixon’s sister, that mocked the murdered officers
    We believe that all oppressed and colonized peoples have a right to struggle for liberation and to resist, as Malcolm X said, by any means necessary. Just like the resistance of Nat Turner and Gabriel Prosser, enslaved Africans once vilified and today considered heroes, African people in Oakland have a right to struggle against this government-imposed terror. This is exactly what our brother Lovelle Mixon did.
    Even if Mixon was not political, he took a righteous stand of resistance to police terror in a community – see: colony – controlled by the police – see: occupying army. Mixon was of the community, and should be remembered.
    ‘Velle’s name will ring in the street: A legend.
    ‘Velle Mixon, y’all listen, this is bigger than fiction;
    ‘Velle went out in a blaze of glory. He said he ain’t going back, Brrrrrat! Brrrrrrat!”
    One pig, two pig, laying on the ground;
    three pigs, four pigs, I bet they know now.
    He knocked them down in an orderly fashion;
    so now they hate the Mixons in an orderly passion.
    (The Burning Spear, March 2010)
    On mass-murderer Omar Thornton (a black man who gunned down eight co-workers in Manchester, Connecticut on August 3rd, 2010)
    In the end, Brother Omar took his own life, they say. And, if this is the case, he was not to give the Colonial police or the Colonialist court the opportunity to legally murder him by bullet or death chamber.
    The idea that he could have escaped was apparently not included in his justice seeking plans, although it should have been.
    According to reports, Brother Omar called his mother after shooting his predetermined antagonists, telling her, “I shot the racists that were bothering me.”
    According to the white ruling class media outlet, Associated Press of August 5, which appeared in the Houston Chronicle, “Friends and Family of those who died said they couldn’t imagine their loved ones doing what Thornton said, and the company and union said Thornton never reported any harassment.”
    Well, as someone from Alcoholics Anonymous would say to an alcoholic who refuse to believe they have an addiction: you are in denial. By the same token, there are very few colonials who admit they are anti-black racist.
    They both reap material rewards; the alcoholic more whiskey, wine, and beer. And the colonial, more vacations, more cars, and more luxury homes, and the convenience of not going to prison, no matter what crimes they commit. They have the luxury of not being shot down in the streets and in their homes by the different U.S. police agencies.
    (Mark Essex was an African-American mass-murderer who went on a seven-day killing spree targeting white people in New Orleans in 1972)

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