Black Lives Matter Fights Against Including Police Killings as Federal Hate Crimes

The leader of the Black Lives Matter chapter in St. Paul, Minn., has a problem with the resolution being pushed by the Fraternal Order of Police that calls for expanding the federal hate crimes law to including killing police.

“Law enforcement wants to make themselves out to be the victims,” Rashad Turner told the Star Tribune after the Red Wing, Minn., City Council approved the FOP-sponsored resolution.

James Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police Legislative Advocacy Center, told PJM he actually agrees with Turner: “Well, when people are ambushed and killed for no other reason than because they are police officers, they are victims.”

The Red Wing City Council is one of three local governmental units to support the expansion of the federal hate crime law. Shelbyville, Ind., City Council members also voted to support the resolution in October. Warren County, Ohio, commissioners approved the resolution in late September.

“It seems that anyone wearing a blue uniform has become a target in the minds of a lot of people — a target not because of what they’re doing, but a target because of who they are, which for me really kind of moves it into the hate crimes area,” Red Wing City Council Vice President Peggy Rehder said after the resolution was approved.

“In this case, it’s not the color of their skin, but the color of their uniform,” she added.

Rehder told WCCO-TV she’d like to see the Minnesota Legislature take up the resolution in the 2016 session.

Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman made sure a Black Lives Matters protest at the Minnesota State Fair in which BLM demonstrators chanted “police are pigs, fry them like bacon” was fresh on the minds of the city council when he presented the resolution.

Pohlman said the BLM protest was typical of what he described as “negative rhetoric toward law enforcement professionals.”

Nekima Levy-Pounds, the present of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, who also serves as a spokeswoman for the Black Lives Matter chapter in that city, defended the behavior of BLM demonstrators and pointed to a study that showed Minnesota is the second-worst place in America for black people to live.

"Anyone who has studied the history of protests understands that protests can be disruptive, protests can be inconvenient, protests will disrupt the status quo and business as usual — that's the whole point,” she told Minnesota Public Radio.

Jack Levin, a professor of sociology at Northeastern University in Boston, has spoken out against the idea of including police officers on the list of people protected by federal hate crime legislation.