This New Bill Would Classify Crimes Against Police As Hate Crimes
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is set to approve a bill that would classify any violent attack against a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or EMT as a hate crime. The bill, which was sponsored by Representative Lance Harris (R-Louisiana) and passed by a vote of 33 to three in the state’s Republican-dominated House, has been dubbed the “Blue Lives Matter” bill in reference to the pro-police, anti-activist pushback against Black Lives Matter.
“It offers an extra level of protection for those who put their lives on the line to protect us every day, and it’s symbolic of our appreciation for that service,” Rep. Harris, the author of the bill, told The News Star.
“We already had an extensive hate crime statute that covers many others,” he said of the state’s existing hate crime law that protects people from violent crimes against them due to their race, age, gender, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, and national origin or ancestry. “I think it’s appropriate to add police and first responders.”
Blue Lives Matter can be best described as the antithesis of Black Lives Matter. According to Blue Lives Matter supporters, police officers are being unfairly targeted by anti-police brutality activists who misrepresent statistics and make up evidence to suit their political agenda. Blue Lives Matter supporters also tend to believe that Black Lives Matter activists hate white people and police officers in general. They essentially discredit necessary activist work under the guise of supporting police officers.
Statistically speaking, police officers and other law enforcement personnel do more dangerous work than civilians. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there are approximately 60,000 assaults on police officers each year; 50 officers each year are killed in criminal incidents; and approximately ten are killed each year in ambushes. However, nearly 1,000 people were fatally shot by police officers in 2015, and more than 250 people were fatally shot by police officers in the first three months of 2016 alone.
The bill originated as a response to the 2015 shooting of Texas Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth. According to Harris, there are plenty of cases where police officers are attacked “for no reason other than some people hate police, [and] that’s the definition of a hate crime.”
However, according to Allison Padilla-Goodman, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, crimes against police officers are already vigorously prosecuted under state law. Additionally, she notes that hate crime laws are not intended to protect people based on their profession.
“Adding professional categories to the current hate crimes statute deters efforts from protecting against identity-based crimes,” she said in a press release. “We are not happy that it is being signed into law.”
Images via Associated Press, Brietbart.
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