The most powerful police union in Washington said it will be lobbying lawmakers to include law enforcement officers as specially protected victims in existing hate-crimes statutes.
“My thoughts and prayers over the past few weeks have been with the families of officers who were, with malice and forethought, gunned down just because they served as police officers,” union president Chuck Canterbury said in a statement today. “Enough is enough! It’s time for Congress to do something to protect the men and women who protect us.”
Canterbury cited the recent slayings of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu by a gunman who cited protests over police use of force, as well as Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson, who was killed by a sniper — allegedly by former FBI Ten Most Wanted fugitive Eric Fein — as he left his barracks.
He also noted the slaying of Detective Melvin Santiago, a Jersey City cop shot in the head by a suspect who allegedly set out to ambush an officer, and Las Vegas Police Officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck, who were murdered by two killers while they ate lunch at a local pizzeria. The couple arrested in those slayings placed a Gadsden flag and swastika on the body of one of the officers.
“Congress saw a need to expand the law to protect a group of our fellow citizens who we suspected were being targeted as victims of violence,” Canterbury said of hate-crimes laws. “In the last few years, ambush attacks aimed to kill or injure law enforcement officers have risen dramatically. Nineteen percent of the fatalities by firearm suffered by law enforcement in 2014 were ambush attacks.”
“All of these officers died because of the uniforms they were wearing,” Canterbury stated. “They were killed because their murderers had one purpose–to kill a cop. Enough is enough! We demand Congress act.”