A shiny new dog whistle for the right.
Harming a police officer is already a crime under federal law, and all 50 states have laws that enhance penalties for doing so. But new bills, introduced into both houses as “Protect and Serve” Acts, are modeled after a federal hate crime statute, which would make it a “hate crime” to intentionally target a law enforcement officer based on his “actual or perceived status” as one. Lots of loose interpretive language make these bills especially dangerous for protesters.
Wait a minute…what?
(reason.com) “The House version (H.R. 5698) of the bill makes it a crime to knowingly cause or attempt to cause “serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer.” The crime is punishable by 10 years in prison. If the crime results in the death of a law enforcement officer, or the crime involves kidnapping or the attempt to kidnap or kill a law enforcement officer, then the sentence can be up to life in prison.
The Senate version (S. 2794) was introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.). Using language that mirrors the language used in hate crime laws aimed at protecting marginalized groups, the bill would make it a federal hate crime “to knowingly cause bodily injury to any person, or attempt to do so, because of the actual or perceived status of the person as a law enforcement officer.” Continue reading “Tues. 5/15: Vote ‘NO’ on “Open Season on Protesters” Act.”