It’s Friday, February 4th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:
1) Police Officers Shot Across The Country
The Topline: Several police officers have been shot and killed across the country in recent weeks, as a new report found that more law enforcement officers were “feloniously killed” in 2021 than in any single year in the past decade.
Quote Of The Day: “We are not safe anymore.”
– Dominique Luzuriaga, widow of Officer Jason Rivera
Last week, six officers were shot across multiple states; two in St. Louis, one in Milwaukee, and three in Houston. They have all survived. On Tuesday, two campus officers were shot and killed during an active shooter situation at Bridgewater College in Virginia.
In St. Louis, the two officers pulled over a vehicle matching the description of one involved in a homicide the night before. As they approached the vehicle, the suspects inside started shooting at them, striking both officers. One officer, who was hit in the leg, was in “very critical, very unstable” condition late last week, but is reportedly showing “amazing” improvement this week.
In Milwaukee, a sheriff’s deputy was shot multiple times in the arms and torso after pursuing a passenger who fled on foot during a traffic stop.
Three officers in Houston were shot by a suspect who fled the scene and barricaded himself in a house, leading to another gunfight with police. The suspect surrendered after being shot in the neck.
In Virginia, police officer John Painter and campus safety officer JJ Jefferson were both killed after being shot by a suspect carrying a gun on Bridgewater’s campus. The suspect was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound following the attack, but it is unclear whether it was self-inflicted or a result of his shootout with police.
In late January, two NYPD officers were killed on duty. The city recently held two massive funerals within one week.
NYPD officer Jason Rivera was laid to rest last Friday after he and his partner, Wilbert Mora, were ambushed in Harlem while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
Mora, Rivera’s partner, also died from his injuries and his funeral was held on Wednesday.
Many members of the law enforcement community in New York are blaming the recent violence on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s recent reforms.
Governor Kathy Hochul (D-NY) has reportedly reached out to Bragg and is actively monitoring the situation. In one interview, she suggested she may use her powers as governor to reverse some of the DA’’s “soft on crime” policies. However, she stopped short of calling for Bragg’s removal.
2) Republican Governors Push Back On National Guard Vaccine Mandate
The Topline: Seven Republican governors asked the Biden administration to exempt members of the National Guard from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, but the Defense Department rejected the appeal and said unvaccinated servicemen could be removed from the Guard.
Quote Of The Day: “We’ve got about 20% of our national guard that is not vaccinated and the real world application is that this policy is going to be self-defeating…”
– Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (R)
President Joe Biden has imposed a vaccination mandate on all members of the National Guard and threatened to withhold the pay of anyone who does not comply.
Republican governors in seven states – Alaska, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska and Wyoming – notified the Defense Department last December that they would not enforce the mandate on guardsmen in their states. They say the president doesn’t have the power to impose a mandate on National Guardsmen, because under Title 32 of the U.S. code, the National Guard is under the command of the governor in normal circumstances. They’re typically deployed during natural disasters or periods of civil unrest.
Officials say the National Guard is part of the military, so they retain control. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote a letter to the governors saying, “Failure by a member to do so will lead to a prohibition on participation in drills, training, and other duty conducted under Title 32 and will jeopardize the member’s status in the National Guard.” Officials also say, since the Guard is federally funded, the administration can withhold funding.
In December, 23,000 members of the Air National Guard and Air Reserve alone were unvaccinated. Texas has the largest number of National Guardsmen in the country at 20,000 members, and state officials said in court filings that approximately 40% of its personnel were unvaccinated.
3) Former NFL Head Coach Sues NFL
The Topline: A lawsuit was filed by a former NFL head coach against the league for racial discrimination in its hiring process, along with allegations that one NFL owner incentivized the coach to lose games.
Quote Of The Day: “I was upset that I wasn’t getting a true opportunity to show what I can do, to show what I can bring to a team.”
– Former Miami Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores
In the class-action suit filed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is suing the NFL and several other teams, naming the Denver Broncos, the New York Giants, and the Dolphins, for racial discrimination in the NFL’s hiring process.
Flores was fired as head coach of the Dolphins in January, following two winning seasons as head coach in Miami.
Flores is accusing Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross of incentivizing him to lose games in order to better the team’s draft stock.
Flores claims that Miami’s owner Stephen Ross pressured Flores to “tank” during the 2019 season, to the point that he offered Flores $100,000 for each loss during the season. He also claims “Mr. Ross began to pressure Mr. Flores to recruit a prominent quarterback in violation of League tampering rules” at the end of the 2019 season.
Flores claims that as a result of refusing to recruit the quarterback, he was “treated with disdain and held out as someone who was noncompliant and difficult to work with.”
“This is reflective of an all too familiar ‘angry black man’ stigma that is often casted upon Black men who are strong in their morals and convictions while white men are coined as passionate for those very same attributes,” the suit states.
Flores also alleges that the New York Giants interviewed him while already intending to hire Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll in order to satisfy the “Rooney Rule” requirements, which “is an NFL policy requiring every team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one or more diverse candidates.”
The suit shows text messages between Flores and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, in which Belichick informs Flores that the Giants have decided to hire Daboll. Flores worked under Belichick in New England.
Belichick appears to have believed he was texting Daboll instead of Flores. Flores had yet to interview with the Giants, so it appears the Giants had already decided who their next head coach would be, and only interviewed Flores in order to satisfy the Rooney Rule requirement.
Flores also alleges that in a 2019 interview for the Broncos head coaching position, “then-General Manager, John Elway, President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Ellis and others, showed up an hour late to the interview.” The suit claims that Flores was only granted the interview because of the Rooney Rule as well.
The Giants, Dolphins, and Broncos have strongly denied the allegations, with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and John Elway putting out statements on Thursday.
Other Stories We’re Tracking
Top ISIS Leader Killed
On Thursday morning, the White House released a statement announcing a Wednesday raid that killed the top leader of ISIS in Syria.
President Joe Biden said, “Last night, operating on my orders, the United States military forces successfully removed a major terrorist threat to the world, the global leader of ISIS…”
According to the president, steps were taken to minimize civilian casualties’ however, at least 13 people, including women and children, were killed when the terrorist leader detonated an explosive vest.
San Francisco PD
San Francisco PD will no longer work with District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office on investigating officer-involved shootings. The move comes after it was revealed in court testimony that an investigator with the DA’s office was pressured to sign an affidavit against an officer that he claims omitted evidence.