(CNSNews.com) – Former Assistant Director of the FBI Ronald T. Hosko blames the media and government officials for inciting violence against law enforcement officers "through the reckless vilification of police officers.”
Hosko released a statement over the weekend, after a 28-year-old man shot and killed two New York City police officers -- "assassinated" them, said New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton -- as they sat in their marked police car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn on Saturday.
The suspect wrote online that he was planning to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner.
“To those who have chosen to incite violence against law enforcement through the reckless vilification of police officers – shame on you,” Hosko said.
“From race provocateurs looking for five minutes of fame, to those in the media who wantonly mischaracterized and sensationalized recent criminal cases, to the government officials who have repeatedly made statements designed to undermine legitimate law enforcement efforts across our nation -– it’s time to reexamine your own words and actions and take your share of responsibility.”
Hosko, who also heads the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, called the assassination of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Lieu “a painful and poignant reminder of the danger that police officers face each and every day in their selfless and courageous efforts to protect our communities."
While the criminal who killed them is ultimately responsible for the murders, "a thoughtful society must examine the social circumstances that fostered such outrageous criminal conduct."
Hosko said the men and women in uniform wear a "target" every day: "Morale among those who serve is damaged and divisions are only widened when the facts are buried in an anti-police narrative,” he added.
Hosko is calling for "real leadership" to engage in a "meaningful conversation" about the critical role of law enforcement in a civil society.
This past November, following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Hosko sent a letter to President Obama complaining that the “hyper-politicization of justice has made it immeasurably more difficult for police officers to simply do their jobs.”
In that November letter, Hosko singled out Attorney General Eric Holder as one of the chief "antagonists." "During his tenure as the head of the Department of Justice, Mr. Holder claims to have investigated twice as many police and police departments as any of his predecessors," Hosko wrote to the president.
"Of course, this includes his ill-timed decision to launch a full investigation into the Ferguson Police Department at the height of racial tensions in that community, throwing gasoline on a fire that was already burning. Many officers were disgusted by such a transparent political maneuver at a time when presidential and attorney general leadership could have calmed a truly chaotic situation."
Attorney General Holder also released a statement on Saturday, condemning the "senseless shooting of two New York City police officers in the strongest possible terms. This was an unspeakable act of barbarism," Holder said.
"This cowardly attack underscores the dangers that are routinely faced by those who protect and serve their fellow citizens. As a nation we must not forget this as we discuss the events of the recent past. These courageous men and women routinely incur tremendous personal risks, and place their lives on the line each and every day, in order to preserve public safety. We are forever in their debt."
Holder again called for "closer bonds" between police and the communities they serve.
(Hosko served as assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division until April 2014.)