First in response to “Black Lives Matter” came “All Lives Matter”—then it transitioned to “Blue Lives Matter,” which has now actually become law in Louisiana.
On Thursday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill in favor of Blue Lives Matter, which aims to emphasize the importance of police officers’ lives. Under this new bill, the definition of a hate crime now includes crimes targeting police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel.
As the FBI defines a hate crime, it is a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Tellingly, it is listed under the Civil Rights section.
One’s profession is not included in this list, as it is not a part of someone’s inherent identity; however, the new Louisiana law now makes a crime against a police officer equally punishable to a racially-motivated attack.
Allison Padilla-Goodman, a regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, expressed that this weakens the severity of a hate crime: “Working in a profession is not a personal characteristic, and it is not immutable…[the bill adds] more categories of people who are already better protected under other laws,” she said according to CNN.
Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, had a different point of view, claiming that, “For those individuals who choose to target our heroes, the message formalized in this legislative act should be clear and the consequences severe.”
Laws such as this, which appear unnecessary considering stringent punishment already exists for those who target police officers, act almost as a slap in the face to Black Lives Matter activists—BLM groups have been working for months to pass legislation to help curb police brutality directed toward African-Americans.
While state legislatures such as Louisiana take bills concerning police officers extremely seriously and pass them quickly and unanimously, they continue to demonstrate little to no interest in the concerns of BLM activists and what they have been fighting for.
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