Following the killing of a Harris County sheriff’s deputy late Friday night, a local law enforcement leader said Saturday the “rhetoric” of anti-police brutality protestors had ramped up “to the point where calculated, cold-blooded assassination of police officers happens.”
“We’ve heard black lives matter, all lives matter,” Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman told reporters at a press conference. “Well, cops’ lives matter, too.”
Hickman was speaking after Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth, 47, was shot Friday night at a Houston gas station. After Goforth fell to the ground, a suspect — Shannon Miles, a black man, authorities said — stood over him and fired several more times. Miles has been arrested and charged with capital murder.
At a second press conference Saturday to describe the arrest, Hickman said anti-cop rhetoric could influence people to commit crimes against police officers, but he said he had "no details as to a motive" in this case.
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Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson told reporters earlier Saturday the "vast majority” of police officers had good intentions, despite a “few bad apples” — an apparent reference to recent, high-profile police shootings of unarmed people that has fueled the #BlackLivesMatter movement and other outcries against police brutality.
“That does not mean there should be open warfare declared on law enforcement,” Anderson said. “What happened last night is an assault on the fabric of society.”
Last month, the death of Sandra Bland sparked outrage in Texas and the nation for what many saw as the latest high-profile case of white police harassment of a black citizen. A Department of Public Safety trooper, Brian Encinia, was put on administrative leave after a dash cam video showed him threatening to use force on Bland after stopping her for a minor traffic infraction. Three days after the arrest, Bland was found hanged to death inside the county jail.
On Saturday, state leaders chimed in with support for Goforth and other police officers.
“Heinous and deliberate crimes against law enforcement will not be tolerated in the State of Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. “Texas reveres the men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their communities.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called the killing “a reminder of the danger our men and women in law enforcement face every day and the courage they demonstrate to protect their communities.”