Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, a former police officer in the suburbs of Chicago, and now spokesperson for the National Police Association, adds that the rhetoric from Democrats and the media "disgust" police across the country.
"We don’t know why these officers committed suicide. Police officers see horrible things every day from the minute they get out of the police academy. We don’t know why any police officer kills themselves unless they leave a detailed accounting of why they killed themselves and most do not," she said.
"To my knowledge, none of [these four] officers left any kind of detailed accounting of why. That’s why it’s important that we don’t assume, and we don’t politicize."
"We will never know. That’s what law enforcement around the country is finding so distasteful about this… that one riot in one area, and suddenly police suicide is a big deal."
"No one is talking about all the other cops who are killing themselves. The politicization of this topic is abhorrent."
The Daily Mail reports that the suicide rate for police officers is higher than the general population, with 17 out of 100,000 cops choosing to end their lives, compared to 13 out of every 100,000 in the general population.
In 2019, 200 officers killed themselves. In 2020, there were 173 police officer suicides and in 2021, there have already been 90. US police officers commit suicide about twice as often as are killed by felonious assault.
'It’s been a problem for the last 20 years, it’s just now getting some additional attention,' she said. Two of the officers' families have publicly attributed their suicides to the riots.
While Sgt. Brantner Smith says that there is no doubt that the officers were affected by the violent events of January 6, no one can be absolutely sure it was the direct cause of their suicide.
The officers' widows are currently fighting alongside Nancy Pelosi and Jennifer Wexton to have their deaths classified as "line of duty" deaths
According to Smith, the mental health of police officers around the country is reaching a "boiling point" after relentless "vilification" by the public and the media in the wake of George Floyd's death, and even before then.
"There are prominent democrats only focusing on January 6," she said, "and those officers involved and prominent republicans who are saying nothing. They say they back the blue but they’re not doing a good job of it. Ultimately, I have to blame the American media."
"The American media is not telling the truth about American law enforcement," added Smith. "The American media since Ferguson on, I’ve talked to the media every day, they have constantly vilified and lied about American law enforcement."
She added that many officers are being blamed for Floyd's death. They now have a fear of going to work and being killed. "I can’t stress it enough," said Smith, "it is reaching a crisis point.'
"Most police officers will see more trauma, more depravity in the first three years of their career than most people will see in their lifetime," she said. "I’m glad that now police suicide is in the forefront of the media but I wonder how long it’s going to last."
'Those [DC Metropolitan Police] officers see lots of crime and depravity. Washington DC is a high crime, dangerous city. There’s lots of shootings and gang problems and all the other horrible things officers see. That’s a whole different situation than the Capitol Police."
She added that Metro PD officers had been dealing with George Floyd riots. "Their boss – Muriel Bowser, the Mayor – she was very supportive of the BLM organization. She did not really allow her PD to engage those violent rioters."
She added that her and her colleagues want the commission into the January 6 riot to be expanded to include all of the riots in 2020.
'Talk to the federal law enforcement officers who night after night, were in the courthouse in Portland while ANTIFA set fire to it. Talk to the officer in Vegas who is paralyzed from being shot in the head by a Black Lives Matter protester. Talk to the police officers who had Molotov cocktails and bottles of urine thrown at them, and had people scream at them saying "I hope your kids get raped."
"If they want to make this an issue, they can’t just make it an issue about January 6," concluded Smith.