Attacking a Police Officer in California will be Considered a Hate Crime
In the State of California, any offense motivated by racism, religion, nationality or a person’s sexual orientation can be classified as a hate crime, of course depending on the circumstances of the case in question. But now, according to a bill introduced in the California State Legislature by Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake), attacking a police officer will be considered a hate crime as well.
What the rationale behind including police officers in the category of hate crimes?
Being a policeman has nothing to do with race, religion or sexual preference. The bill has one purpose: defending law enforcement agents by turning any attack against them into a more severe offense which entails a much harsher punishment.
In the course of 2016, 62 policemen were killed in the line of duty across the United States. This grim figure indicates a close to 80% rise compared to 2015 which claimed the lives of 38 officers. In California alone, 10 policemen were killed in shooting incidents.
The killing of police officer Nicholas Smarr
The officer that was most recently killed is Nicholas Smarr from Americus Atlanta. Smarr responded to a domestic dispute call on December 7 and was shot by Minguell Kennedy Lembrick. It turns out that Lembrickhas had an arrest warrant on his name for kidnapping and is, thu, considered extremely dangerous. Georgia State Police and the FBI are searching for him. A price of $30,000 has been offered for anyone with information that will lead to his capture.
California is not the only state determined to protect the lives of law enforcement personnel. This year, Louisiana also passed a bill called Blue Lives Matter turning any attack against a policeman into a hate crime. States like Texas, Mississippi and New Jersey consider doing the same.