Louisiana’s new “Blue Lives Matter” law, which offers hate crime protections to police officers, makes resisting arrest a hate crime felony, a state police chief told KATC.
"Resisting an officer or battery of a police officer was just that charge, simply. But now, Governor Edwards, in the legislation, made it a hate crime now," said Calder Hebert, the St. Martinville Police Chief.
Resisting arrest is usually treated as a misdemeanor charge. If resisting arrest is treated as a hate crime, the punishment would be significantly more severe. People convicted of hate crimes can have up to five years added to their sentence, according to Mother Jones.
Hate crime laws are usually used to protect victims targeted on the basis of unchangeable facets of their identity, including race, age, gender, religion, skin tone, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, and creed. Allison Padilla-Goodman, the regional director for the south-central division of the Anti-Defamation League, said that adding occupations to this list of protected classes “water[s] down” the intent of the law, according to Mother Jones.
Furthermore, Padilla-Goodman, crimes against cops are usually committed when a suspect is trying to escape arrest, meaning that self-preservation, and not hatred against police officers, is the likely impetus for most anti-police violence.
But Hebert said that the law is an important step in protecting police officers.
"These guys go out there everyday and the main goal is to protect the public and go home at the end of the day. This is one step in making that happen. Hopefully, the rest of the nation follows suit," said Hebert.
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