A Birmingham, Alabama, police detective who was pistol-whipped unconscious said Friday that he hesitated to use force because he didn’t want to be accused of needlessly killing an unarmed man.

“A lot of officers are being too cautious because of what’s going on in the media,” the officer, who asked to remain anonymous for the safety of his family, told CNN. “I hesitated because I didn’t want to be in the media like I am right now.”

Details of last week’s incident in the Birmingham enclave of Roebuck remain sketchy — such as how did the suspect get the officer’s weapon — but the six-year police veteran said he didn’t shoot the man who attacked him during a traffic stop because of the outcry surrounding a spate of police shootings nationally.

“We don’t want to be in the media,” he said. “It’s hard times right now for us.”

Heath Boackle, a sergeant with the Birmingham Police Department and president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police, told KFOR TV Thursday that cops are “walking on eggshells because of how they’re scrutinized in the media.”

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