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Should Attacks on Law Enforcement Be Hate Crimes?

The state of Louisiana is considering making it a hate crime to attack a police office. A new piece of legislation, HB 953, would change the state's definition of hate crime to include firefighters and police.

“We have a pretty extensive hate crime law right now, but I believe we should add firefighters and policemen,” Louisiana Rep. Lance Harris (R), who supports the bill, told Louisiana news source the Advocate.

The proposed language reads:

It shall be unlawful for any person to select the victim of the following 10 offenses against person and property because of actual or perceived race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry of that person or the owner or occupant of that property or because of actual or perceived membership or service in, or employment with, an organization, or because of actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer or firefighter.

“You never know if he’s coming home,” Dionna Nelson, the daughter of a police officer, told KLFY-TV. “His life was always on the line. There’s just too many police officers being killed, and firefighters and first responders being killed in the line of duty. There’s just no sense for it.”

Not everyone agrees the bill is a good idea. The left-wing ThinkProgress argues “no evidence to support the idea that there’s a war on cops.”

“Some of the cases held up by the media as examples of anti-police sentiment turned out to be police who actually shot themselves,” ThinkProgress reporter Carimah Townes wrote. “Nevertheless, law enforcement, conservatives, and media pundits frequently seize on cop killings to scapegoat minorities.”

Do you think it should be considered a hate crime to attack a police officer?