Federal Bill Introduced Making It A Hate Crime To Target Police Officers

U.S. lawmakers have introduced the Protect And Serve Act to make it a federal crime to target police.

Washington, DC – A bipartisan bill that would make targeting law enforcement officers a federal hate crime was introduced in both the House and the Senate on Tuesday.

The proposed legislation was spearheaded by U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), according to a press release.

“’The Protect and Serve Act of 2018’ 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,” Hatch explained. “These heinous, cowardly assaults are an attack not just on law enforcement, but on the rule of law.”

“Every day, law enforcement officers across the country put their lives on the line to protect us from harm,” he continued. “We are all indebted to them for their sacrifices and their service to our communities, which is why we must do all that we can to protect them.”

Heitkamp said that officers’ service needed to be honored and protected by the citizens they served.

“We must address targeted violence toward peace officers across the country,” she noted. “Our bipartisan bill would make clear that attacks against law enforcement officers based on their role to protect and serve the community will be met with harsh penalties, and that these crimes will be elevated and prioritized.”

Under the proposed legislation, offenders convicted of murdering or kidnapping a law enforcement officer – or who attempted to do so – would face a maximum of life in prison.

Offenders convicted of attempting or causing serious bodily harm to an officer would face a maximum of 10 years.

National Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury hailed the legislation on Tuesday, and noted that such action was especially imperative in the wake of increased attacks on police.

“Already this year we have 87 officers shot in the line of duty and 28 of them were killed,” Canterbury said in a press release. “This is 75% higher than this time last year.”

He explained that people “who desire nothing more than to wound or kill an officer” have presented new risks for our nation’s police force.

“Finally, Congress has decided to act,” Canterbury said.

He also hailed Representatives John Rutherford and Val Demings, who introduced the House version of the bill.

Rutherford, a former sheriff, and Demings, a former chief of police, both “know what it means to walk a beat, to make a traffic stop and to look over your shoulder even while you’re on a break,” Canterbury noted. “We are very grateful for their leadership and support.”

National Association of Police Organizations executive director William Johnson echoed Canterbury’s sentiments, and said that the proposed legislation was a “critical” component in working to “establish stricter penalties for those who harm” or “target” police, CNN reported.

“NAPO strongly believes that increased penalties make important differences in the attitudes of criminals toward public safety officers, and ensure protection for the community," Johnson added.

News of the proposed bill was quickly met with opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund, who issued a joint letter to Senate members on Tuesday.

The groups argued that “extending hate crimes protections” to police officers was “profoundly inappropriate,” “divisive,” and perpetuated “a false narrative that police are under increasing attack.”

“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 joint statement read. “Law enforcement officers are not a historically persecuted group.”

“This bill signals that there is a 'war on police,' which is not only untrue, but an unhelpful and dangerous narrative to uplift,” the groups claimed. “The Protect and Serve Act does not advance any stated policy goals, because law enforcement is not subject to increasing or widespread attacks.”

They also argued that the bill threatened to “exacerbate” the “already discriminatory system of mass incarceration,” presumably by imprisoning people who try to kill police officers.

The legislation could come before the Judiciary Committee later this week, the National Fraternal Order of Police said.

Comments (27)
No. 1-27
ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

May this bill pass and become law!

JBo
JBo

Amen to this bill. Long overdue.

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Hi_estComnDenomn Oh, I'm sure this upsets you to know end, Cheech. Let me help out the idiots who believe that the bill " threatened to “exacerbate” the “already discriminatory system of mass incarceration,” The simple solution, although maybe not so simple for some, is not to hurt police officers trying to do their job. See, even a police hater like yourself should be able to see the logic in that statement.

ShelbyCole
ShelbyCole

This is awesome, this bill if passed will open the path for passing mandatory sentencing minimums for Police officers convicted of Criminal acts,

Drug possession with intent to distribute - 10 yrs for each offence.
Negligent Homicide - 15 yrs
2nd degree murder - Life imprisonment

cooldarth
cooldarth

Long overdue. I hope it gets full bipartisan support. It is not
surprising that the ACLU is attacking this bill as they have a history of illogical and irrational perceptions and authorship.

JCSeigel
JCSeigel

It's been long overdue and it's about time!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

I'm confused as to how one could have a Protect and Serve Act when cops aren't under any obligation to protect or serve.

I suppose those kinds of details will be worked out in the coming weeks.

Poileas
Poileas

So This is why I am Past President of my Lodge and not a fan with my fellow brethren.

"It is already a hate crime to denigrate, verbally harass, discriminate against, physically assault and murder ANYONE!"

What makes one person greater than any other when it comes to ones safety? We chose to run into fires wearing polyester before the Fire Fighters show up, it is our choice. We chose to enforce the law and go through a synonymous anal probe of our lives to get the job, does that make us better than the lowly poor?! It is everyone's human right to defend themselves from being murdered. It is an American right to defend another person. It is an American right for any person in the US to use deadly force if warranted, to use deadly force to defend oneself/another/property from certain crimes.

It is immoral to MURDER a person, any person, and is punishable up to death. So what makes 1 person less liable or more liable for a criminal act. Nothing does.

NoBackupNearby
NoBackupNearby

It's a beautiful thing. May it go all the way through!

Marxest
Marxest

Since when are police officers a historical persecuted group? Oh they never were. Real Hate crimes are committed against black folk and other minorities all the time. Its not that often that police are targeted fpr violence. at least not as much as minorities by white folk. There is the false narrative about a war on cops. Yeah, cry wolf. But if they want to scream and bitch and say their uniform should be protected from "hate crimes" the let the stupid ones try to get the law passed.

Gramercy
Gramercy

Praying this law becomes a bill...AND it is ENFORCED!!!! Tired of Policemen being killed both within and outside of the line of duty. They are "servants" of the people....those desiring their demise or hurt just are not "people"..they would be "animals" in my book..whatever race, religion or ethic background they proper to be.

Dodio
Dodio

this law should include a death penalty for killing a law enforcement officer like in Canada. You do not hear of very many police officers being killed in Canada on purpose . I pray this law goes into effect.

believer2003
believer2003

wait wait wait wait are you telling me congress is doing something??

Sheman
Sheman

Its about time.if someone is breaking the law an then target the police

Richard Kurtz
Richard Kurtz

This is stupid. All murder is a hate crime. No matter who is murdered, the punishment should be the same.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@Dodio
Canadian police are, on average trained much more than American police. I'm not even talking tactics and such, but community involvement, mental health engagements, etc. The kind of shit that instills trust in your police department.

NoBackupNearby
NoBackupNearby

@John-Brown you are correct. Canada did away with reference to capital punishment.

61mouse
61mouse

How about a bill that goes after judges that lets
the thugs back out on the streets ?

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Marxest please provide me with data that proves your assertion whites target blacks for violence more than blacks target whites. Go to you tube and I can guarantee you will find a plethora of videos showing blacks attacking whites. Maybe you should read "White girls bleed a lot".

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Hi_estComnDenomn I love it when you come across as some expert in the field of law enforcement here in the states and Canada. I'm telling you, lay off the dope, it's definitely turning you into a melon head.

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Poileas I hope to God you're still not in law enforcement. Seriously, the reason for this law is so obvious to anyone who wears the uniform that your response is embarrassing.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301
Here's the thing, Filbert. Even though you're currently on the internet, you forget that it contains references and charts and verifiable people speaking on these subjects. Are you saying i would have had to be a Canadian and American cop before i could say that they are much better trained?

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Hi_estComnDenomn YEP! Exactly Cheech. It's impossible to compare one department to the next. All agencies have minimum training requirements which means some will do more than others. The agency I worked for spent a lot of time on training. An agency like Orange County in Orlando even has more, because they have additional resource and money. Hope that helps your little pea brain.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301
How is telling what i already said helping me? By your logic, you should stop talking about the Canadian police because you've never been one. We're both going off of what is reported.

But again, thanks for agreeing.

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Hi_estComnDenomn I'm sure your response makes sense to you at some level. However, I have no idea where you are taking this discussion. Did you just smoke another bowl, Cheech?

WeAllMutter
WeAllMutter

I’m all for having extra protections for police, but yeah, hate crime designation is to protect people who are commonly targeted due to their demographics, targeted because they are marginalized from society and so cowards like to cherry pick on them. Police are one of the most powerful demographics out there. Why not have a hate crime bill for telemarketers, who face enormous abuse from the public? Because it’s a job, and that’s part of the job. Now, police are in far more danger than telemarketers, so additional protections make sense, but doing it this way just screams “I know you are but what am I?”