After the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, multiple attempts at creating contrary movements followed. Among them was “Blue Lives Matter,” a phrase used by supporters of police officers who feel that they’re often mistreated and go unappreciated for the services they provide.
In an attempt to further protect police officers from attacks – which are now being deemed as hate crimes – the state of Louisiana is on the verge of passing what’s being called the “Blue Lives Matter Bill,” officially known as HB953, which was State Rep. Lance Harris, according to CNN. It was reportedly inspired after Darren Goforth, a Texas sheriff’s deputy, was shot and killed while last August while in uniform.
“In the news, you see a lot of people terrorizing and threatening police officers on social media just due to the fact that they are policemen. Now, this (new law) protects police and first-responders under the hate-crime law,” said Harris.
“I certainly do think there is a need for [legislation]. If you’re going to have an extensive hate crime statute then we need to protect those that are out there protecting us on a daily basis,” he continued. “There is a concerted effort in some areas to terrorize and attack police and I think this will go forward and stop that.”
As with any issue, there has been pushback on the bill from multiple parties. A concern is that police officers are being offered more protection and power when they’ve already got much more than the citizens they serve to protect. There is also concern that occupations are now being labeled as something that can be targeted as a “hate crime,” which could take away from the value of acts already deemed as one.
“Adding professional categories to the current Hate Crimes statute deters efforts from protecting against identity-based crimes,” Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Allison Padilla-Goodman said in a release. “We are not happy that it is being signed into law.”
“The bill confuses the purpose of the Hate Crimes Act and weakens its impact by adding more categories of people, who are already better protected under other laws,” writes Padilla-Goodman in a letter that was reportedly sent to the governor. “Hate Crimes are designed to protect people’s most precious identity categories … like race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, and gender identity. Proving the bias intent is very different for these categories than it is for the bias intent of a crime against a law enforcement officer.”
If the governor, John Bel Edwards, signs the bill, it will read as follows:
“It shall be unlawful for any person to select the victim of the following offenses against person and property because of actual or perceived race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry of that person or the owner or occupant of that property or because of actual or perceived membership or service in, or employment with, an organization, or because of actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel.”
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