Attacking a police officer is now a ‘hate crime’ in a US state

Published: March 23, 2017
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After the state of Louisiana, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has signed a bill into law that makes it a hate crime to attack a police officer or an emergency responder.

Louisiana is the other state with a “Blue Lives Matter” law.

When the law goes into effect from July 1 this year, the “hate crime” designation applies to charges such as criminal mischief and rioting, assault, menacing, abuse, unlawful imprisonment, rape and arson.

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Under this law, judges and parole boards will be given more discretion in denying probation or parole both during the sentencing process and afterwards for those convicted of hate crimes.

The bill earlier drew widespread objections from civil rights groups after Kentucky Representative Kevin Bratcher, a Republican from Louisville, filed it in the wake of the slayings of five Dallas police officers.

“Police and firefighters do a very important job for us in society, and I believe if you’re going to mess with them for doing their job you’re going to get the full brunt of Kentucky law,” said Bratcher in the bill.

“I want to give judges all the tools they need when it comes to punishment for those would hurt our first responders.”

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The NAACP Legal Defence Fund urged Bevin had argued that the bill “threatens to sow division between police and communities and does nothing to improve officer safety or wellness.”

“This bill comes at a moment when our country is in the throes of a national policing crisis,” the letter stated.

“Using hate crimes laws that have historically been developed to give protection to people of colour from distinct forms of violence motivated by prejudice, including police violence, is a particularly disconnected and non-responsive policy choice.”

 

This article originally appeared on Washington Examiner.

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