Police Hit in Deadly Iowa Ambush at the Height of Presidential Campaign
The Clinton campaign canceled events in the wake of the shooting, which comes amid an uptick in deadly attacks on law enforcement.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign canceled a “Get Out the Vote” event with vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and former President Bill Clinton in Des Moines, Iowa, after two local police officers were ambushed, shot, and killed while sitting in their police car Wednesday.
Authorities quickly apprehended the suspect, 46-year-old Scott Michael Greene. In a YouTube account reportedly belonging to him, Greene appeared to confront police after they asked him to leave a high school premises in a video titled “Police Abuse, Civil Rights Violation at Urbandale High School 10/14/16.” Greene appeared in another video to be holding a Confederate flag and American flag at a high school football game.
Below the video, an account reportedly belonging to Greene commented, “i was offended by the blacks sitting through our anthem. Thousands more whites fought and died for their freedom. However, this is not about Armed forces, they are cop haters.” The Des Moines Register also reported that Greene was arrested in 2014 after an alleged combative encounter with police officers involving racial slurs, death threats, and resisting police pat-downs.
“There is a clear and present danger to police officers right now,” Des Moines police Sgt. Paul Parizek told reporters in the wake of the shooting.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), which tracks police shootings, says there has been an 11 percent uptick in police fatalities in 2016 from 2015. Some 111 police officers died in 2016, of which 49 were firearms-related, according to NLEOMF. These numbers didn’t include Wednesday’s shooting in Iowa.
Shootings of law enforcement officers have been a dismal fixture this year, with deadly sprees in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The shootings in Iowa, though, don’t appear to have any link to the Black Lives Matter movement and the broader concerns about police brutality, which have animated past collisions.
In response to the shootings, Republican nominee Donald Trump tweeted: “Praying for the families of the two Iowa police who were ambushed this morning. An attack on those who keep us safe is an attack on us all.”
Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @RobbieGramer