Spokane County sheriff blames Obama for cop deaths

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich is standing by remarks in which he blamed former President Barack Obama for emboldening people to "hunt and assassinate" law enforcement officers.

Knezovich made the comments Saturday at a conservative rally in Spokane Valley in support of President Donald Trump.

“Never in my history have we been hunted and assassinated, and I blame Barack Obama," he said.

The Republican sheriff told The Spokesman-Review that Obama's rhetoric is part of a broader war on cops that inspired attacks on officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Dallas; New York and other cities.

Knezovich also found himself in the news last month, when he was told to disarm at Spokane Arena where he was taking party in a charity event.

The chairman of the Spokane County Democrats, Andrew Biviano, is urging the sheriff to tone down his rhetoric and use more nuanced language.

According to the Washington Post, the number of law enforcement officers intentionally killed each year has been steadily declining for decades and reached historic lows during Obama's presidency.