Civil rights groups slam bill that would make attacking police officers a hate crime

Greg Nash

Top civil rights organizations are urging senators to reject a new bill that would classify injuring a police officer as a hate crime.

The ACLU, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Human Rights Watch and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights denounced the bill in a letter to senators on Tuesday, saying it was a “profoundly inappropriate and misguided proposal.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the Senate version of The Protect and Serve Act on Tuesday.

{mosads} The legislation which would make it hate crime to “knowingly cause bodily injury to any person, or attempts to do so, because of the actual or perceived status of the person as a law enforcement officer.”

Punishment could result in upwards of 10 years in prison. 

“Hate crimes laws are intended to extend protection to historically persecuted groups that have experienced a history of systemic discrimination based on a personal characteristic, such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability,” the statement read. “Law enforcement officers are not a historically persecuted group.”

Police already have substantial protections at both the state and federal level, the groups added in the statement.

The organizations also said the bill inaccurately asserts that there is a “war on police.” 

Hatch said Tuesday that the bill “makes clear that no criminal will be able to escape justice when he singles out and assaults those who put on the badge every day to keep us safe.”

The civil rights groups claimed the “Blue Lives Matter” bills are a political response to the outcry over the killings and assaults of unarmed African Americans.

“Therefore, this bill is divisive and will have an negative impact on the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” the statement said. 

Tags Abuse American Civil Liberties Union Black Lives Matter Blue Lives Matter Discrimination Hate crime Law enforcement Orrin Hatch Orrin Hatch Police police brutality
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