Police

Hate Crime Laws Are a Savage Hypocrisy, as Demonstrated by New "Blue Lives Matter" Laws

If police are entitled to hate crime law protections as an identity group, who isn't?

|

Free Eric Cartman
Erin Tracy/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Assaults on police are already subject to more additional penalties (which are generally prosecuted more severely) than assaults on private citizens are, but the push to include police as a protected identity class under hate crime laws continues today in New York.

Assemblyman Ronald Castorina (R-Staten Island) has proposed an Empire State version of the "Blue Lives Matter" law which went into effect in Louisiana earlier this week, making an attack on a police officer a hate crime, prosecuted with harsher sentences the same way an identity-motivated assault on someone based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation is. In New York, an attack on a police officer is already a Class C felony (and prosecutors need not prove motive), with the hate crime upgrade it would be a Class B felony. More serious violence against police, if charged as aggravated assault, would go from a Class B felony to a Class A felony, should Castorina's bill becomes law.

Given the additional penalties already imposed against those who commit violence on police, why do many feel the need to add hate crime protections for police?

Louisiana Rep. Lance Harris (R) is quoted by Rebecca Beitsch of Pew Charitable Trust as saying the additional statute is "that extra layer of protection that reinforces morale by knowing the state of Louisiana is behind them."

Castorina told the New York Observer, "It's based on this climate in this country right now where police officers are being abused and they're being disrespected, and we're seeing they have a target on their back, in Louisiana and in Dallas," adding, "You can envision this happening at a protest, where somebody might throw a rock or a bottle or a punch."

Despite the heated "War on Cops" rhetoric recently on display at the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the horrific targeting of police by murderers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, it's still a historically safe time to be a U.S. police officer. Still, Texas, New Jersey, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Mississippi — states which run the gamut from liberal and Northern to conservative and Deepest South — are also considering adding police to hate crime protections.

Hate crimes are by their very nature thought crimes, making a racist's motivation to commit violence a greater violation in the eyes of society than, say, a thief's motivation to commit violence. So what does adding police to the list of protected classes — which is apparently intended as a morale-booster, rather than an effective crime deterrent — do to the general perception of hate crime legislation?

Writing at Gawker (!), Hamilton Nolan opines that such laws are generally an opportunity for politicians to grandstand about how much they care, which is an easier thing to do the address our nation's shameful mass incarceration figures. Nolan adds:

Defining an attack on agents of the state empowered to use violent force as a "hate crime" is, of course, a mockery of the hate crime concept. But this has always been the unavoidable endpoint of such laws.

Eventually, every single sub-group of people will have their own hate crime law. At that point, we will be back to the exact place we were in before hate crime laws.

Violence is already a criminal act and everyone, regardless of their identity or occupation, is entitled to equal protection under the law. The fair and equitable enforcement of criminal law which treats all citizens as created equal is what we should strive for, not feel-good legislation that plays into the hands of bigots by further segmenting the human race into different species.

Way back in the halcyon days of the Bill Clinton administration, South Park made the point that hate crime laws are a "a savage hypocrisy." Watch the iconic clip below:

Advertisement

NEXT: William Weld, Libertarian Vice Presidential Candidate, Thinks No One on a Terror Watch List Should Be Able to Buy A Gun

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Extra layer of protection”

    Now Tasered for her pleasure!

    1. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week.
      I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do… http://www.trends88.com

  2. It’s like with taxes, you just don’t get the same warm fuzziness from use of govt force by enforcing rules already on the books. You have to escalate. This is why all laws should expire and then people can feel like they sis something just by passing the original ones over again.

    1. I find it interesting your autocorrect turned ‘did’ into ‘SIS’. Are you, by any chance, British?

  3. As usual, South Park is spot on. I’d vote for a Parker-Stone ticket in a heartbeat.

  4. Oh, sure, let’s provide extra protection for Louisiana police – the ones life Officer Hoffman, who (before he was removed from the force, having mistakenly dragged Ziggy Marley’s manager from the area of a fight the manager had not participated in, taken him round the corner, and broken both his knees) was known to me from acquaintances’ encounters.

    The most peaceful was Hoffman starting words with a friend of mine, taking his shopping bag, opening a bottle of beer, throwing the cap under a car, and arresting my friend for an open container. In another instance, an acquaintance’s boyfriend went out for milk, tipsy, but on foot. He ended up in jail, beaten badly by Hoffman.

    Or, there was “Officer Twenty,” who pocketed any cash carried by those he arrested.

    And that just the ones I know of first-hand. There are the Katrina murderers, and they weren’t the first to commit that crime under blue cover.

    Sorry, /rant off.

    1. Come now, let’s not be silly, everyone knows that a fundamental purpose of our great nation’s laws (and of law enforcement in general) is to guarantee, protect, and secure the interests of influential groups and members of society. There is no more “hypocrisy” in defending the police than in defending the honorably self-earned reputation of a distinguished academic department chairman, which is what criminal prosecutors and judges have been doing in New York for the past seven years, with the full, and justified, support of the media and the academic community at large. Surely Mr. Fisher would not wish to defend the outrageous “First Amendment dissent” filed by a single, isolated, liberal judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  5. “It’s based on this climate in this country right now where police officers are being abused and they’re being disrespected

    That’s all I need to see right there. See, you RESPECT those boys in blue, whether they deserve it or not, or you pay the price!

  6. It’s funny they still use blue to describe themselves. Most departments use the all black SS throwbacks.

  7. How does punishing someone for the motive (i.e. thoughts) not amount to a 1A violation?

  8. Well, can anyone blame the police?

    The whole “protected class” gimmick sets up those in the class as having a superior status to everyone else, as being more equal than the others. By force of law. If you set that up, you should hardly be surprised when any group of people try to horn in on the action.

  9. Wow, only 10 comments. Either everyone is so deeply in agreement that they don’t feel the need to comment, either that or H&R has finally found itself above “I told you so” to the supporters of Hate Crime legislation.

    Well, I’m not.

    I told you so, bitches.

  10. Um, maybe you should point out the political means by which cops get this unequal treatment by the law?

  11. I just don’t understand how Government Agents are a Protected Class that need Hate Crime Legislation…

    what a mess

  12. i get Paid Over ?80 per hour working from home with 2 kids at house. I never thought I would be able to do it but my best friend earns over ?9185 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless.

    Heres what I’ve been doing,……… http://www.CareerPlus90.com

  13. Police are already high enough above the law to begin with. This will only further divide the serfs from their overlords.

  14. Police are already high enough above the law to begin with. This will only further divide the serfs from their overlords.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.