NJ Legislator Wants State's Cops To Be The New Beneficiaries Of Hate Crime/Bias Laws

from the #copslivesmatterMORE dept

You know what group of the public just hasn't been given enough protections? Law enforcement officers.

To date, all they have is:

It's not enough. It's dangerous out there for cops these days.* So, in the interest of making things even safer for our underprotected boys/girls in blue, a New Jersey politician is introducing legislation that would fold cops in to the state's "hate speech/bias" laws.

* It isn't.

In New Jersey it is a bias intimidation crime when one person threatens another based on race, religion, color, gender, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity. Police officers are not currently protected under the statute, but one Garden State lawmaker said they should be.

He said that threats against a cop should be taken as seriously as the crime that often follows that threat.

“Legislation that I am proposing would expand the bias intimidation/hate speech statute to include law enforcement officers. There needs to be consequences for threatening to target and kill a law enforcement officer,” said Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Jackson).
There are consequences, which Dancer seems to have forgotten. True threats and killing law enforcement officers is already illegal under current New Jersey laws. What Dancer wants to do is give a historically well-protected group additional protections meant for historically less-protected citizens.

This sort of cop-favoring legislation is nothing new for Dancer.
Dancer already introduced another bill (A-3611) that would expand the definition of a terroristic threat to include threatening to kill a police officer.
Once again, issuing terroristic threats is already a crime. There's no need to specifically add police officers to the statute… unless you're like Dancer and believe the copacalypse is upon us, powered by hashtags and the general feeling that people just don't love cops the way they used to.
“The recent ambushes and assassinations of our law enforcement officers simply because they wear a blue uniform, that demands action. I recognize and respect that freedom of speech is a constitutional right, but when someone is threatening to kill our law enforcement officers there needs to be strict penalties,” Dancer said.
And there are strict penalties! Uttering terroristic threats is punishable by 3-5 years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Dancer wants threatening cops to be a more severe criminal act than threatening any other citizen. His proposal would make threatening cops a second degree crime, with penalties increasing to 5-10 years/$150,000 fine, along with the presumption of incarceration. (Third degree crimes often result in non-custodial sentences like probation.)

Dancer has also proposed an automatic death penalty for killing law enforcement officers, again citing the (nonexistent) War on Cops.
“While irresponsible groups promote rhetoric that threatens police officers, it is crucial we support our peace keepers,” Dancer said. “We need a strong deterrent for targeting our men and women behind the badge.”
Worse than Dancer's fear-based, fact-free bloviating is the additional commentary of Kevin McArdle, who wrote the story for NJ101.
Cops could use all the protection they can get. According the Officer Down Memorial Page 26 police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty in 2015...
Statistics show that the current pace for killed cops will put the number at 35 by year's end, the second-lowest total in almost six decades. Cops don't need more protection. The perception has changed, but the number of deaths is historically low. Cops are safer than they've been since the mid-1950's, back in the good old days of Sheriff Andy Griffith and the possible peak of the public's worship of law enforcement officers. The only thing taking a beating these days (other than tons of "civilians") is law enforcement's public image. And despite high-profile police-involved shootings being swiftly followed by high-profile protests, cops are still being "targeted" and killed at an incredibly low rate.

Adding prison time and fines to existing penalties solely because of the target's profession is just more favoritism that places cops further above the people they serve. It's stupid and it does nothing to address the so-called "war on cops," which at this point, is still 99% misperception and 100% misinformation.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:19pm

    Mine-resistant work vehicles? Seriously? Do we really have citizens planting mines around the country? Hey, that sounds like a great idea. Prevents law enforcement from trespassing on my property.

    The cops are really stupid giving the people of this country insane ideas like this. Motion triggered automatic weapons that shoot on sight?

    LOLS

    The COPS are really stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 3:37am

      Re:

      Motion triggered automatic weapons that shoot on sight?

      AKA US Cops.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Suomynona, 14 Oct 2015 @ 4:04am

      Re: Mine-resistant work vehicles?

      @AC: "Mime-resistant work vehicles? Seriously? Do we really have citizens planting mimes around the country?"

      Hell yes, I'd even pay GOOD MONEY for mime prevention myself. Around here they swarm together worse than mosquitoes; the woods are LOUSY with them, all with their sad faces and caught up in that stupid invisible box.

      Police and civilians all need to be protected from this continuing horrible threat, since the goggles, they just don't do anything.

      I hadn't thought about planting them though. I've managed to beat up a few of the slower ones but let them go once they start crying and talking. I'm not quite sure I completely understand the concept here though -- do the car windows become opaque; or do you give them a live (not plastic) plant to shake them out of their silent delusion, or what? Could you sign me up for your informative newsletter? Thanks!

      A silent mime is not a friend of mime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:44pm

    “We need a strong deterrent for targeting our men and women behind the badge.”

    Great idea... and that takes the death penalty off the table. Proven time and again to be no deterrent whatsoever.

    And let us know when you've got that other deterrent figured out, okay?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 3:47am

      Re:

      The only deterrent that works is the certainty of being caught as a consequence of your actions.

      The severity of the punishment is secondary to that.

      The problem is that when prosecution/conviction is only loosely connected to your actions - even if it is common - then there is no deterrent effect.

      In that case you effectively have a "war" where you will be targeted by the police for "being a criminal" rather than "committing a crime" and they get to make that decision quite arbitrarily.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wade Through, IT, 13 Oct 2015 @ 5:29pm

    Translation

    "I recognize and respect that freedom of speech is a constitutional right, but..."

    I respect the constitution, not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2015 @ 2:41am

      Re: Translation

      Anything that is said before the word 'but' in any sentence can be safely ignored.

      e.g. I'm not a racist, but...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2015 @ 5:30pm

    When your paying for the local cops to do your dirty work, people like this obviously want to give them even more power so they can get away with committing illegal actions against his political enemies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Agonistes (profile), 13 Oct 2015 @ 5:36pm

    An incident recently happened that surprised me concerning part of what this article talks about. I'm within 8 miles of the border of Oregon and this town is immediately across it...I actually heard this happen on my scanner last week:

    http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/local-news/20151005/milton-freewater-police-arrest-89-year-old- woman-for-hate-crime-more

    Apparently, Oregon must have already subsumed law enforcement officers under the umbrella of protection of hate speech laws. Or this is another Heien v. North Carolina "reasonable mistake of law" privilege.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2015 @ 6:14pm

    "Cops are safer than they've been since the mid-1950's"

    According to statistics, police today are TWICE AS SAFE as they were in the 'safest' year of the 1950s.

    https://www.aei.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/police1.jpg

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Oct 2015 @ 6:19pm

    One way penalties

    I recognize and respect that freedom of speech is a constitutional right, but when someone is threatening to kill our law enforcement officers there needs to be strict penalties,” Dancer said.

    Which is more threatening:

    A) An unarmed person making threats?

    B) An armed person pointing a gun at you and making threats, or implying that they may be 'fearing for their life'?

    Pointing a gun at someone, or implying that you will do so for non-compliance is a threat. If an unarmed person making threats deserves huge fines and jail-time, then someone pointing a gun at someone, whether the one doing so has a badge or not, deserves even larger fines and jail time. Yet you can be sure the hypocrite proposing the bill would throw a huge fit if you suggested it, as threats are apparently only serious when the ones making them don't have a badge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Oct 2015 @ 6:35pm

    And while we focus on this, we ignore all of the other actual problems Jersey has.

    It would seem a large problem is they elected a pandering idiot who wants to score points rather than work in reality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AW, 13 Oct 2015 @ 6:46pm

    Color me surprised

    New Jersey corrupt? Say it isn't so! Also...just another reason to not go to New Jersey.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    audiomagi (profile), 13 Oct 2015 @ 7:21pm

    "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Oct 2015 @ 9:15pm

    TRENTON September 24, 2015— The New Jersey state Supreme Court on Thursday overturned its own 2009 decision on warrantless car searches, broadening police authority to search vehicles based on probable cause.


    Add this to The Legislatures further broadening of police powers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous coward, 14 Oct 2015 @ 12:08am

    "Once again, issuing terroristic threats is already a crime."

    Agreed -- but this is an indictment of all hate crime legislation. Assaulting anyone is already a crime, yet our leaders, in their wisdom, have decided assaultung certain protected classes merits more punishment than violating the rights of a someone who happens to lack the proper pigmentation or sexual orientation. When you start treating citizens as groups rather than individuals, you have little room for complaint when the democratic process is used to try to favor groups you don't like.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2015 @ 1:16am

    For the people?

    “The recent ambushes and assassinations of our citizens, by officers simply because they wear a blue uniform, that demands action."

    This is what a "real" politician should be saying. How can he look at those numbers and not see how an all record low in violence against police demands questions about why we keep seeing the police assault citizens under the guise of safety?
    There is no question of vague statistics here... it is at an all time low and if you account for inflation of the populace and police force, that should drag those statistics the other way, then this is not just low, but the best improvements they could ever have dreamed of.
    But by all means, lets give them some more ways to decide the fate of ordinary people on a whim; people who might have more dangerous jobs(as many have). The police deserve it... you know, for their heroism and all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    iCop, 14 Oct 2015 @ 3:58am

    If a citizen doesn't like cops...

    ...he should be made to. People in power say, citizens do. Or there are consequences. Why? Because God has given them right to rule, God has given them enough money, connections and intelligence to rule the peasants. Too bad, that nowadays peasants wants to have "rights". Here, have some:

    - Right to do work for your government officials
    - Right to not speak until spoken to.
    - Right to do EXACTLY how your Governor says you should do.
    - Right to not speak against the Government that provides for you.

    And obligation:

    - Obligation to not forfeit any of your Rights, under no circumstances.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 14 Oct 2015 @ 4:09am

    This makes it illegal to be angry at the police.
    You will no longer be allowed to voice dissent with any police officer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2015 @ 4:13am

    politicians really think they can distort reality via laws.

    late cops behavior and militarization has earned them TOTAL citizen hate. that is a fact.

    no laws. movies or tv series can change that Fact

    just write a law ruling bullets and words should avoid cops???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TRX (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 5:11am

    Police officer "line of duty" deaths, from https://www.odmp.org/search/year?year=2014

    47 - gunfire (does not break out "friendly fire")
    27 - automobile wreck
    18 - heart attack
    10 - vehicular assault
    5 - struck by vehicle
    5 - vehicle pursuit
    4 - motorcycle wreck
    2 - gunfire (accidental)

    vehicular related deaths: 51
    gun related deaths: 49

    Looks like taking away their car keys would do some good for the stats...


    However, listing "heart attack" as a line-of-duty death seems disengenuous. Apparently any death while you're employed as a police officer is a line-of-duty death now. And now that everything from bailiffs to dogcatchers are lumped in as "LEOs", it's impossible to tell how many are police and how many are police-wannabees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 5:20am

      Re:

      I've always thought that bailiffs and dog catchers counted as LEOs. They are, after all, officers that enforce laws.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 14 Oct 2015 @ 6:03am

      Re:

      Based on the numbers listed, those heart attacks could mostly be attributed to being scared to death by their partner's driving.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      However, listing "heart attack" as a line-of-duty death seems disengenuous. Apparently any death while you're employed as a police officer is a line-of-duty death now.

      If they die of a heart attack while on duty, what are they supposed to list as the cause of death? Heart attack! The page doesn't specify that these are only deaths that occur while on duty, but the term "line of duty deaths" would tend to indicate that, and if this were all deaths of cops whether on duty or not I would expect to see some from cancer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 6:33am

    Call it what it is

    Dancer wants to make "Contempt of Cop" officially a law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2015 @ 7:41am

    No Threatening - Got It

    Shoot without warning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 9:06am

    Not really understanding the problem here...

    “The recent ambushes and assassinations of our law enforcement officers simply because they wear a blue uniform, that demands action.

    Apparently cracking down on the subset of police officers who cause these sentiments, through their abuse of the public, is not one of the actions demanded? The 'solution' put forward by Dancer isn't even up to the point of treating the problem symptomatically. This is more like excusing and even encouraging bad behavior.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Griffdog (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 9:18am

    ... and they have this...

    Let us not forget
    - The right to regularly use chemical weapons that would be illegal if used by the military, according to the Geneva Conventions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeremy2020 (profile), 14 Oct 2015 @ 10:18am

    So if we bring forth this orwellian future, will we eventually get V from V for Vendetta?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Oct 2015 @ 12:07pm

    Just another issue in a much larger problem

    A conspiracy to commit, commit to fuck with everyone elses lives that is

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GEMont, 14 Oct 2015 @ 11:26pm

    Fascism 101 - Tell the lie officially, repeatedly, and soon, its accepted as the truth.

    I watch very little TV but its impossible to not notice that all the TV cop shows have the same plot time and time again, when its not about fighting terrorists - revenge killings of cops by crazy pissed convicted criminals, and the general trend of (usually drug selling) bad guys hunting down cops they did not like and murdering them violently.

    TV seemed to be replacing reality with mega cop killings during a period when statistics show cop killings to be fewer than normal.

    Now it all makes complete sense.

    The US public is being groomed once again, to swallow another bullshit pill in order to get them ready to accept more fascist law changes.

    Make 'em watch reams of Cop-killer bullshit on TV and then blast the pages of the papers with scare stories about mass cop killings by crazed ci-villains.

    The Goal: more powers and rights for Cops. Less power and fewer rights for the public.

    Helps to legitimize the murders of civilians by police that cannot be justified as "suicide-by-cop" killings. The Suicide-By-Cop murders of civilians by police are already legally justified now.

    But now that the general US public is being portrayed as a crazy mob of police murderers, its gonna be open season on "civilians" - a label that is becoming more and more appropriate for citizens these days as the cops become a new Militarily Armed Force, with license to kill at will, occupying the streets of the nation's cities.

    Standard Fascist Processing. Looks like they're getting ready to drop the facade and install military control in the USA soon. They'll need a war first of course.

    Hmmmmm.. where can the USA find a good war for rent these days??

    Welcome to the nation that Hollywood is creating.
    Sit back and enjoy the show.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 16 Oct 2015 @ 2:28am

      Re: Fascism 101 - Tell the lie officially, repeatedly, and soon, its accepted as the truth.

      They have done the EXACT SAME THING with due process.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        GEMont (profile), 18 Oct 2015 @ 2:14pm

        Re: Re: Fascism 101 - Tell the lie officially, repeatedly, and soon, its accepted as the truth.

        "They have done the EXACT SAME THING with due process."

        Actually, they have done the exact same thing with almost everything that made America, America. Its just another Fascist dictatorship now, pretending to be America through the Truth Free Press and Hollywood movies.

        However, I still think the real blame for it all rests with We The People, for letting them do it and making excuses for why We The People should let them do it - over and over again.

        Stupidity, greed and ignorance are definitely reasons, but they are not excuses.

        And I believe that as long as We The People continue to blame "them" for results caused by "our" lack of responsible reaction, things will only get worse.

        ---

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.