From USA Today:
"Miss. 'Blue Lives Matter' bill: Targeting first responders a hate crime"
A Senate judiciary committee passed a "
Blue Lives Matter" bill Tuesday that would add the targeting of law enforcement and other first responders to the state hate crimes statute.
Senate Bill 2469 adds language that if a crime is committed because the victim's actual or perceived job is law enforcement, firefighter or emergency medical technician it would be considered a hate crime just as it would if a person was targeted due to race, gender or religion Targeting law enforcement officers and other first responders would lead to enhanced penalties under Mississippi's hate crime law if it passes, says Senate Judiciary A Chairman
Sean Tindell, R-Gulfport.
Tindell said a person who kills a law enforcement officer is already subject to the death penalty under state law. However, under the proposed legislation, a person convicted of aggravated assault or other crimes on a law enforcement officer would also face enhanced penalties, in many cases double the standard sentence with no early parole. Last year, Louisiana passed a similar law that added law enforcement officers to the protected class under that state's hate crime statute. Other states have been considering such bills. "I think everyone is aware where law enforcement were targeted, especially in Dallas," Tindell said, referencing the slaying of five police officers by a gunman last year. Sen.
Chad McMahan, R-Guntown, tried unsuccessfully to amend the Mississippi bill to add that it would apply to an attack on uniformed law enforcement and other first responders. McMahan said there would be no question of an attacker's motive if he or she knew the victims were law enforcement. However, Sen. Briggs Hoison, R-Vicksburg, said that if a victim were an undercover officer, and the attacker knew it, the law wouldn't apply then. Sen. Barbara Blackmon, D-Canton, argued the bill should include that if a law enforcement officer kills or injures someone when not following proper procedure, that officer should be charged with a hate crime. Tindell said since the hate crime law applies to everyone, he was opposed to adding the language Blackmon proposed. "I don't think this is the appropriate bill for that," Tindell said. Blackmon gave an impassioned statement about how her two sons had been stopped by law enforcement in the Jackson metro area, saying that it was because they were black and because of the type of vehicles they drove. Blackmon's amendment failed. Several "Blue Lives Matter" bills were filed this year in the Legislature. Gov. Phil Bryant also threw his support behind such legislation during his State of the State address last week. Mississippi ACLU Executive Director Jennifer Riley-Collins has expressed opposition to the measures. Riley-Collins has said unnecessary "Blue Lives Matter" legislation is being proposed in states across the country. This legislation increases protections for law enforcement officers without balanced protections for residents against abusive and intrusive police practices, she said. Proponents of SB 2469 "pay lip service to protecting the police without actually doing so," she said Tuesday. "Not only is this bill unnecessary, but there is absolutely no evidence it will make police safer. Statistics show that violence against police is down. There are already severe, enhanced penalties for assaults on police officers in Mississippi. This bill, and others like it, prioritize police over people," Riley-Collins said.
Blue Lives Matter started after
Black Lives Matter protests over deaths of some African Americans at the hands of police. Senate Bill 2469 now goes to the full Senate. If the bill passes in the Legislature, it will become law July 1.
^ People tend to throw support to the police the same way they do to soldiers - in a fake way just to sound "trendy." My family has a long history with people serving in the military and although I don't have any known police officers in my family it is still along the same lines - people putting their lives on the line to help others. As with any occupation there are some who abuse their position, but the majority do their jobs in the correct and professional manner and shouldn't be targeted because they are in the police force. ^