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Emily Venezky
By Emily Venezky June 10, 2020

Post inflates number of police killed in connection to protests

If Your Time is short

  • One officer’s death has been conclusively connected to violence during protests, retired police captain David Dorn.
  • The FBI is still investigating the motive in the death of Dave Patrick Underwood, a security officer in Oakland who was shot while protests passed blocks away.
  • A website that tracks active local law enforcement officer deaths lists nine officers who have died since May 26. None have been connected to the protests.

An Oakland, Calif., security officer was fatally shot while working security at a federal courthouse while protests passed a few blocks away. Three days later, a retired officer in St. Louis was fatally shot while responding to a break-in at his friend’s pawn shop amid protests. 

The FBI is still investigating whether 53-year-old Dave Patrick Underwood’s May 29 death in Oakland was in any way connected to the nearby protests over police brutality. In St. Louis, meanwhile, police have arrested a man they say shot 77-year-old retired officer David Dorn on June 2 when looting and violence followed peaceful protests.

While these two incidents have generated news coverage in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death in police custody, we find no evidence of a June 3 claim shared by the thousands on Facebook:

"More than 20 police officers are dead now because of the riots. Where is their justice?"

The Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit dedicated to honoring local active duty law enforcement officers, lists nine law enforcement officers who have died nationwide since protests began. According to the website and news reports, none were related to the Floyd protests. 

One officer was shot and killed while delivering an eviction notice. Two were killed while responding to separate domestic disturbance incidents. Two died after contracting COVID-19. One was accidentally shot by another law enforcement officer while responding to a suspicious person call. One was shot and killed while responding to a call for service at a hotel. One died following a vehicle collision. One died while responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle.

We did find news reports indicating that several active law enforcement officers have sustained injuries in the course of the hundreds of protests staged in communities across the country since Floyd died. But we found no other information to suggest that more have lost their lives.

We rate this claim False.

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Post inflates number of police killed in connection to protests

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