Louisiana

Louisiana Police Chief: Resisting Arrest is Now a Hate Crime Under State Law

"Stop resisting!" becomes "Stop committing a hate crime against my profession!"

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A Louisiana police chief says the state's new "blue lives matter" law, which makes it a hate crime to target a police officer, extends to simply resisting arrest.

Andrew Katz/ZUMA Press/Newscom

The law was enacted last year as part of a surge of similar legislation introduced around the country following several high-profile ambushes and deadly attacks against police officers, including a Baton Rouge shooting that left three police dead. While many states enhanced the penalties for assaulting police officers, Louisiana became the first state in the U.S. to make police a protected class under hate-crime laws when the governor signed the legislation into law in May.

A New Orleans man was the first person to be charged under the new law last September for allegedly shouting racial and sexist slurs at police. But now, at least one local police chief thinks those protections extend even further.

Louisiana's KATC reports:

St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Hebert hopes the law will not only save lives, but make offenders think twice before resisting arrest.

"We don't need the general public being murdered for no reason and we don't need officers being murdered for no reason. We all need to just work together," said Hebert.

Hebert is very familiar with the new hate crime law, having already enforced it since it took effect in August.

"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 Hebert.

Under the new law, Hebert says any offender who resists, or gets physical, with an officer can be charged with a felony hate crime.

Those convicted of felony hate crime in Louisiana face a fine of up to $5,000 or a five-year prison sentence, while a hate-crime charge tacked onto a misdemeanor is punishable by a $500 fine or six months in jail.

It's notoriously easy to be charged with resisting arrest, so much so that police departments across the country often consider a large number of resisting arrest charges as a potential red flag for officer misconduct. For example, a WNYC investigation found that just 5 percent of NYPD officers accounted for 40 percent of the 51,503 resisting arrest charges filed between 2009 and 2014. Several of those officers had a history of excessive force complaints and civil rights lawsuits being filed against them.

Of course, there is the question of how a prosecutor could prove that a person resisting arrest was doing so specifically because he or she hated the police. It seems doubtful that widespread application of Hebert's, shall we say, novel legal theory would survive any sort of scrutiny. But then, that would seem to be an underlying problem with the whole notion of extending hate-crime protections to a profession. That's one of the reasons the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that generally support hate crime laws opposed the bill when it was introduced.

Here's what the ADL said when the bill was sailing through the Louisiana legislature:

ADL strongly believes that the list of personal characteristics included in hate crimes laws should remain limited to immutable characteristics, those qualities that can or should not be changed. Working in a profession is not a personal characteristic, and it is not immutable. As a society, we make great efforts to help protect law enforcement and ensure they receive justice. Additionally, ADL is concerned that expanding the characteristics included in bias crime laws may open the door to a myriad of other categories to be added and simultaneously dilute current hate crimes legislation. This bill confuses the purpose of the Hate Crimes Act and weakens its impact by adding more categories of people, who are better protected under other laws.

Or, for a slightly more critical take on hate crime enhancements in general, here's my colleague Scott Shackford, writing about the New Orleans man charged with hate crimes for shouting slurs at the police:

As somebody who has read many, many, many reports of anti-gay assaults and violence over the years, I just want to point out that while it probably looks clear to everybody outside the police that this wasn't a hate crime (again, regardless of a position on hate crime laws), what do people consider when evaluating the credibility of hate crime claims against other minorities? Things like whether the person assaulting a gay person or other minority shouted bigoted slurs, just like Delatoba did here. That is one of the factors used to decide that a crime is motivated by hate, and many supporters of hate crime laws get very, very upset when police don't immediately accept that hate speech as evidence that a hate crime occurred. But since we don't have the ability to read minds, what hate crime enhancements often actually do is add additional punishment based on what people say or express while committing a crime.

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87 responses to “Louisiana Police Chief: Resisting Arrest is Now a Hate Crime Under State Law

  1. I have to admit, I didn’t anticipate any methods in which this law would be abused. Color this commenter surprised.

    1. What is your surprised color? I’m going with either dandelion or wisteria.

      1. It’s blue, like all surprised people are.

          1. Flax for me.

          2. Cerulean blue in the X-files sense?

    2. Sarcasm? Yeah, that’s real helpful.

    3. Hey paul how dare you steal my saying! I always use color over call!

  2. *shocked face*

  3. Let it be known that Louisiana cops are thin-skinned cunts.

    1. Best band name I’ve heard today!

  4. Fucking cops — one internet article has me feeling sad when a badge takes a bullet in the back of the skull while trying to help a motorist — the next internet article makes me think the blue boys are irredeemable.

    1. one internet article has me feeling sad when a badge takes a bullet in the back of the skull while trying to help a motorist

      It’s okay to feel sad when someone dies, you heartless monster.

      the next internet article makes me think the blue boys are irredeemable

      That is because they are.

    2. It’s not their fault that their human side shows once in a while.

    3. I’m willing to bet that even a majority of police are basically good people who mean well enough. The problem is the entire system isn’t really set up to serve them. It’s set up to serve, basically, the thugs with badges. The union, the city government & police department demanding fines as a revenue source, the laws that they’re told to enforce are all designed to provide cover and incentive for the thug with a badge. My guess is anyone who isn’t a thug learns to keep his head down, hope for an okay partner, not make any waves and wait for retirement.

      1. On rereading, I should probably have said “are basically initially good people….”

        1. ^This. While it’s cathartic the say “F—- the police” it’s ultimately not going to help change anything. Change the system and the culture that protects and encourages the bad actors. Also, I think the ‘good cops’ get shit on pretty good because if their is any doubt that they might not cover for their ‘brothers’ they can count on getting passed over for promotion and treated like a pariah. I work with several prior-LEO’s and they are pretty good people…..which is probably why they walked away from it.

      2. i dont even think initially. Most people i know who go into police force are power hungry douche bags that join for the respect (ha) and power.

        They only see criminals and have 0 interest in helping people from day 1 from my experience. I also took criminal justice classes so i could know thy enemy better. I honestly can’t recall more than 1….maybe 2 out of the couple hundred i met :/ Also those 2 werent even principled people so give it 5 years and they will be like the rest.

        1. sam goes for the USMC. Maybe 5% are initially decent human beings but after the meat grinder there are still maybe .1% decent human beings. I met/worked with 5,000-10,000 people and i struggle to recall 10 maybe 20 good to decent people all but 3 were Chaplains or retirees. :/

  5. Those convicted of felony hate crime in Louisiana face a fine of up to $5,000 or a five-year prison sentence, while a hate-crime charge tacked onto a misdemeanor is punishable by a $500 fine or six months in jail.

    “Take the plea and we will drop the hate crime charge.”

    Of course, there is the question of how a prosecutor could prove that a person resisting arrest was doing so specifically because he or she hated the police.

    Anyone being arrested hates the police. Duh doy.

  6. I will love the police as they kick the shit out of me in the street.

  7. Never saw this coming!

    1. Weaponized politics, or, The Art of Political Revenge

  8. Just when I thought I’d broken my dependence on needing a regular nut-punching story, here we are.

  9. HATE.SHOULD.NOT.BE.ILLEGAL.

    1. I hate that you hate their hating on haters.

  10. That’s cool, Loueezy. I’ve never been interested in visiting NOLA or so much as flying over your backwards swamp shithole of a state. Thanks for giving me one more reason to boycott your banana republic ass.

  11. You have the right to resist unlawful police actions.

    Sorry but I couldn’t copy the link. This is in reference to a specific case:

    “A lot of people don’t understand this idea ? but the police know,” Rackauckas continued. “They know if they are not lawfully performing their duty ? [and] are using excessive force, that a person has the right to self-defense ? that a person has the right to resist. You have a right to resist an unlawful arrest.” (Emphasis added.)

    This point had been made earlier from the witness stand by retired FBI Special Agent John Wilson. A former tactical police training expert, Wilson spent 60 hours studying the surveillance video of the Kelly Thomas killing. He testified that the actions of Officer Ramos were improper and unlawful. Under cross-examination by the defense, Wilson emphasized that once the police attack began, Thomas had the right to use lethal force, if necessary, to protect himself. The OC Weekly reports that the off-duty cops who crowded the courtroom reacted to Wilson’s testimony “by shaking their heads and hissing.”

    1. Sorry again. This was from a William Norman Grigg column.

    2. Sadly the odds are pretty stacked against the citizen when it comes to lawful self-defense against law enforcement. Unless you are lucky enough to both be recorded (and have that recording not somehow become lost) and survive the incident, the police will manufacture the facts necessary to substantiate their story.

      1. Even if it is recorded, most judges, prosecutors, and jurors will defer to the cops anyway. Either because they deify first responders, or out of fear of retribution. Regardless, the cops will do what they want and get away with it.

        1. Cops are second responders. Victims are their own first responders.

    3. You may have a right to resist unlawful police actions, but in practice that is certainly not the case. Police actions are justified because they are the police. They can do whatever they want. Who is going to stop them? Who is going to dole out consequences when they lie on reports and in court? Nobody. They do what they want, lie about it, get away with it, and then do it again. Welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave.

      1. Damn straight man. Couldn’t say it any better than that.

    4. “Have the right to” and “government recognizes the right to” are too very different things.

      And in Indiana, for example, you *don’t* actually have the right to resists unlawful commands or actions by the police.

      Their SC has already decided that the proper forum for adjudicating such disputes is in the Indiana courts and not in the street. According to them, you’ll always be able to get your way in court if the police force their way into your house. What you do if they’re demanding you blow them? Well, you blow them and then you sue.

      1. Ahh, but the government doesn’t have to recognize fundamental human rights. My right to resist unlawful actions exists outside the government.

        1. comes with a death sentence that i will accept because give me liberty or give me death. We all know death is what the government will give :/

  12. So if a police officer is beating the hell of a black guy who mouthed off, which one of the two is committing a hate crime? I feel like the poor Park Service Ranger with a rifle trained on a bald eagle who is currently eating an endangered snake. Who do I pull the trigger on? Or do I simply let them fight and let whomever lives be declared the victor?

    So, this is where the rule of law has finally died.

    1. The larger victim wins.

      It’s like martial arts or boxing; when two men of equal skill fight, the larger man wins (almost always), this is why weight classes are a real thing in all sport fighting.

    2. You shoot the eagle of course, because it’s a symbol of white privilege.

      1. No, you shoot the eagle so you can catch and cook and eat both.

    3. The black guy of course.

      The officer isn’t attacking the dude because he’s black, he’s attacking him because he’s not a cop. And there is, as yet, no protection for not being a cop.

      1. this. I really hate when people bring race into this. It isn’t a race issue. Its a peasant vs kings men issue.

  13. It seems doubtful that widespread application of Hebert’s, shall we say, novel legal theory would survive any sort of scrutiny.

    And, man, I’d sure hate to be Herbert or any of his officers after those charges fail to stick. Oh, boy. They’d sure be in the hot seat!

    1. Even if the cases get thrown out of court and a judge orders them to stop charging people with hate crimes for resisting, they’ll keep doing it. After all, who’s going to stop them? Who is going to punish them? Exactly.

  14. A Louisiana police chief says the state’s new “blue lives matter” law, which makes it a hate crime to target a police officer, extends to simply resisting arrest is a fucking blithering idiot.

    FTFY

  15. Die in a fire, Hebert.

  16. It seems doubtful that widespread application of Hebert’s, shall we say, novel legal theory would survive any sort of scrutiny.

    Doesn’t matter if it survives scrutiny or not. “The process is the punishment.”

  17. Fuck the police. That is all.

  18. As bad as it is, at least they don’t have to live in Jew York City.

    1. I hear that they even let the Jews drink from the same drinking fountain!

      1. And Muslims openly ride public transit.

      2. That’s got to be one long line at the water fountain.

    2. More like Jew Dork Shitty, amiright?

      1. Blew over fifty?

  19. Chief A Bear can suck my dick.

  20. Wait, so hate crimes laws are stupid unless they benefit your constituency?

  21. Breaking News:
    “Statists have seized on a stupid law that was overreaching and redundant and expanded it. More news at 11.” /Journalist from Columbia

    1. *snorts line of coke and calls Weigel

  22. Hey guys,

    A WH press secretary is getting very upset that people are criticizing DJT. You should see it to believe it. Awesome! Is it always going to be this fantastic. Do they have an EAP program for federal employees? I know someone who really needs it.

    1. Ok,
      Would you stop triggering me with the socialist shit? *crawls to safe space

      1. Someone is impersonating me here. I love the implied compliment , but others are getting upset. So I changed my handle in an attempt to be a good guest. Why blame me? Blame American sociaist.

        1. Blame American sociaist

          I see you misunderstood “Get the ell out of here.”

        2. I am this close () to blocking you all. Your sweet, delicious tears are not in demand at the moment due to the flooded market.

          1. Why should I be blamed for the comments of American sociaist? Why don’t you block him? There’s plenty of people here interested in rhetorically fellating Donald Trump around here or claiming that all politicians are the same. I’m not. Maybe you get more diversity of opinion by keeping me around. Let me introduce myself… I’m interested in personal liberty, antimilitarism, communitarianism, and radical politics. How about you?

            1. personal liberty

              = The government confiscating your property, denying you the means of self-defense, telling you what to buy, and telling you what to say

              antimilitarism

              = Bombing multiple countries simultaneously and pretending you didn’t just bomb a few more before that

              communitarianism

              = What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine

              radical politics

              = Shut up and do what I tell you

        3. Blame American sociaist

          for being far more intelligent and thoughtful than you are?

        4. No, you changed your goddamn motherfucking handle to try to get around the people blocking you so you could keep trolling and make it more difficult for people to block you.

        5. Someone is impersonating me here. I love the implied compliment , but others are getting upset. So I changed my handle in an attempt to be a good guest.

          “I shit on your carpet for three days- but I put some newspaper on top of it– finally.”

  23. We all need to just work together

    I thought that was the slogan of the IRS. Somehow “working together” always seems to be “I’ll tell you what to do and you do it.”

    1. “I’ll tell you what to do and you do it [and pay for it].”

      fixed.

    2. Don’t forget “Morning Joe.” Jesus, as soon as Trump won they started yammering about “cooperation” and “reaching across the aisle.” They conveniently forgot Obama who said, when he took office, that he had “won” and didn’t need to compromise. But as soon as a Republican is in the Whitehouse, it’s all about bipartisanship.

  24. If there is one incontrovertible fact, it is this: Give the State an inch and they take a million fuckin’ miles.

  25. Let’s just get it over with and make it illegal to murder anyone.

    1. Or is that too radical an idea?

  26. Withholding alt-text is a hate crime.

  27. Under the new law, Hebert says any offender who resists, or gets physical, with an officer can be charged with a felony hate crime.

    Doesn’t resisting include running away? So now running away will be considered a hate crime on police? Or does the resisting have to include a physical component?

    1. pretty sure going limp and mouthing off or even staying quite is resisting.

  28. “ADL strongly believes that the list of personal characteristics included in hate crimes laws should remain limited to immutable characteristics”

    OK genius, tell me about gender related hate crimes; kinda fluid now aren’t they?

  29. Louisiana just made my “never go there” list.

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