U.S. Justice's report addresses how to protect police from ambush

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2015 12:17 AM

By Julia Harte

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Protecting police from ambush attacks, a growing problem for law enforcement, will be the focus of a report to be released on Tuesday by the U.S. Justice Department at a major conference.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch will address the annual gathering of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago at a time when Democratic President Barack Obama is seeking police support for new measures to reduce U.S. incarceration rates and sentencing reform proposals in Congress.

Details of the report on ambush attacks and a second one on officers' health and safety were not immediately available.

Ambush attacks account for an increasing portion of police fatalities, totaling 36 over the past decade and seven in 2014 alone, the FBI said.

These included the double ambush of New York Police Department Officers Wenjian Liu, 32, and Rafael Ramos, 40, in December. They were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn by Ismaayil Brinsley.

Brinsley had posted on social media about his anger over the cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, black men who died as a result of force while being arrested by white police officers.

FBI Director James Comey said in a speech on Friday that fear of being accused of brutal tactics had sent a "chill wind" through U.S. law enforcement in the past year, making police less effective at cracking down on violent crime.

On Tuesday, the administration also issued a new guidebook of actions that elected officials and law enforcement officers can take to build trust and legitimacy within their communities, such as reviewing and updating policies on the use of force.

Members of a new national group of law enforcement leaders who support reducing crime and incarceration met Obama at the White House last week to discuss topics such as mandatory minimum sentences and the Black Lives Matter movement.

(Additional reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Paul Tait)