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.

The Republican sheriff told local media outlets 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.

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 other news sources, the number of law enforcement officers intentionally killed each year has been steadily declining for decades and reached historic lows during Obama's presidency.