Louisiana and Kentucky, not America’s most progressive states, have also passed similar legislation, showing that the mythical ‘war against cops’ is taking hold around the country. The idea behind the legislation is to deter people from committing acts of violence against police, however, the law also opens the door for rampant corruption, as the slightest resistance could now land people in jail with trumped up charges.
Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed the final bill into law, identified as House Bill 645, otherwise known as the “Back the Badge Act.” Its authors cite the increased killings of police last year, including Dallas and Baton Rouge. The question is why do the authors of the bill not seem to recognize that across the board, violent crime is down, violence against police is down, and killings by police are at an all-time high? The authors and legislators who passed this bill are again living in the realm of alternative facts, which in this case, will undoubtedly land people in jail for crimes fabricated by police.
As it stands, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest are the two most easily abused charges that police use to jail those refusing to bow down to their authority. Under the bills that have passed, the act of simple resisting could now be construed as violence against the arresting officer. Louisiana’s “Blue Lives Matter” bill does just that. According to St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Herbert, “Resisting an officer or batter of an officer was just that charge, simply. But now, Governor Edwards, in the legislation, made it a hate crime.” In Louisiana, simply bracing or pulling away from an officer will land you in jail for a hate crime.
Kentucky also just passed legislation, making crimes against police hate crimes. Their bill was introduced by Rep. Kevin Bratcher. Bratcher cited the increase in police killings from 2015, which had 41 police officers shot, to 64 in 2016. The facts that people like Rep. Bratcher like to leave out are that police shootings are comparatively lower than they have been in decades, with years like 2007 and 2011 having over 70. To this day, the single biggest causes of police deaths are at fault car crashes, and obesity, leading to “natural cause” deaths.
The mythical war on cops is having real world consequences for people caught up in police interactions in these three states. Police killings of civilians is reaching epidemic proportions; with over 1150 killings last year and over 50,000 Americans hospitalized due to injury. Yet, state governments backed by the Trump administration are vowing to continue to fight this fictional war against cops, punishing the very citizens they are meant to protect. These three states are only the first in a long line yet to pass similar legislation. So far in 2017, more than 30 Blue Lives Matter bills have been introduced in 14 states, with many more currently being written.
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