Other stories filed under Opinion
Is Resisting Arrest a Hate Crime? Con
February 7, 2017
The state of Louisiana is flirting with the idea of “Blue Lives Matter” bills, some of which have already become state law. An example would be the HB 953 bill which puts police, firefighters and emergency medics under hate crime protection.
The bill was first proposed in April 2016, and then passed and became effective in August 2016.
It has now come into national light after the police chief of St. Martinville, Louisiana, made some troubling comments about the law.
The FBI defines hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.” Note that this definition does not include career choice or job as a protected class.
And for good reason. Protection against hate crimes is meant to support those being discriminated against for things that are inherently a part of them and cannot be changed. People cannot change their backgrounds, their ancestors or their biology. What makes protected classes different is what makes them targets.
First responders, especially police officers, know the dangers that come in their job description, and while it is still tragic every time an officer of the law dies in the line of duty, it is essential to recognize that their profession was a decision they made, unlike those of us born a minority or LGBTQ.
A supporting factor for the bill was the idea that animosity and disrespect towards officers of the law has risen and escalated. The law was created to ensure the safety of the police but 2015, the year before the creation of this law, was one of the safest years for men and women in this field.
Compared to the 51 officers who passed away in 2014, only 41 officers had passed away due to “felonious” acts. A remarkable feat since only twice has there been a lower rate, 1961 had 37 deaths while 2013 holds the record for a low 27.
Police officers are one of the most decorated and honorable occupations in America. They have protections. Resisting arrest is already an offense and can include the assault and battery of an officer to a charge. If these two charges already enhances the sentencing of an initial crime, what’s the point of making it into a hate crime? It trivializes actual hate crime.