Congressman Wants To Make Attacking A Cop A Federal 'Hate' Crime

from the won't-someone-think-of-the-blue-children?!? dept

We've seen this sort of thing proposed at the state level on more than one occasion. But Rep. Ken Buck, a former DOJ prosecutor, wants to take it national, as Chris Seaton reports for Fault Lines.

Colorado representative Ken Buck is very concerned about the health and well being of our nation's police officers. His concern for officer safety in a world that "hates cops" is such that that he's introduced legislation making attacks on police officers a federal hate crime.

Buck's "Blue Lives Matter Act," H.R. 4760, would make "an attack on a police officer a hate crime," according to the bill's text. The name of the legislation, filed Wednesday, alludes to the "Black Lives Matter" mantra taken up by activists who protest police violence against black people, particularly the killings of unarmed black people at the hands of police.
The bill not only makes an attack on a police officer (or an attack that appears to be motivated by the fact that the person represents law and order) a "hate crime," but it also makes it a federal crime. Buck apparently feels this legislation is going to win hearts and minds, as there's no avoiding it when you visit his website.

The proposal is also accompanied by a heartfelt "Dear Colleague" letter that talks about cops "holding together the fabric of our nation" and how they've been "intimidated" by recent acts of violence. No statistics are cited to back up his insistence that this a real problem that needs to be addressed with legislation… because there aren't any.

The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund's stats show the number of officers killed in the line of duty has been decreasing over the last several years and appears to have hit a lower plateau of ~120/year for the past four years.

The number of officers killed in the line of duty to date this year stands at 29, which would put year-end totals roughly in the same neighborhood as the past half-decade. And yet, every death is greeted with claims that the law enforcement profession is deadlier than ever.

Law enforcement officers are better protected (by laws and policies, on top of actual physical protective gear) than members of the public but they're apparently not protected enough. Buck's legislation allows officers -- who have made a voluntary choice to pursue a more dangerous career -- to count themselves as an underprivileged class, most of whom have no choice whatsoever in their current status. Back to Chris Seaton:
Why add a job, something a person applied for and trained to do, to a list of concepts like "religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability?" If you're a logical, rational person (and we'll assume you are, since reading Fault Lines puts you in that bracket), you should be able to spot the flaws with Buck's rationale right away…
People can't choose their race, gender, disability or sexual orientation. Cops choose to be cops. If officers don't like the increased risk inherent to their profession, they can always quit. Most of the other groups routinely covered by hate crime legislation don't have that luxury.

The bill's broad wording would allow federal prosecutors to bring hate crime charges for even the simplest of assaults -- provided the action could conceivably be perceived as "anti-law enforcement." Here's Seaton's hypothetical:
The arbitrary nature of the Blue Lives Matter Act is clear when you notice it's a federal offense if someone is attacked because they're "perceived" to be a police officer. There's no need to prove cop status under the Blue Lives Matter Act. If an AUSA has evidence someone yelled "FUCK THE POLICE" at a Rage Against the Machine concert before slugging a security guard, they can make it a hate crime and force the defendant to plead down from there.
Police officers are already a protected class. They have their own Bills of Rights. They have good faith exceptions, immunity that shields them from many civil lawsuits, the power to stop and detain people for almost any pretense and the constant support of hundreds of legislators around the country. They don't need any more help. They're as far away from "underprivileged" as any group could be.

Filed Under: blue lives matter, hate crime, ken buck, police, violence

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  1. icon
    klaus (profile), 30 Mar 2016 @ 4:58am

    Politicians always go for the symptoms, never the root cause

    "...concern for officer safety in a world that "hates cops"

    There's a mass of data that tells us that the length of jail time rarely correlates with crime rates, whatever the seriousness of the offence. And this applies to the war on drugs, the war on terror...

    Yet you rarely see any politician try and address the root cause. So I ask you why, so-called "Rep." Ken Buck, why does the world hate cops? Can I suggest it's that they're already over-protected and not acting for the good of the public?

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