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Bill to add cops to parties protected from hate crimes advances

Criminal laws change often to try to keep up with the developments of society. With all of the recent acts of violence that have occurred against police officers, Louisiana legislators are taking action by introducing a bill that would make targeting a police officer with violence a hate crime.

The bill, HB 953, has advanced from a committee in the state's house that classifies crimes that are committed against firefighters and police officers as hate crimes. If it is passed, the bill would be added to the already extensive set of hate crime laws that are on the state's books.

One of the primary considerations of this bill would be that it allows five years to be added to the sentence of anyone who is found to be in violation of the terms in the bill. Some people are calling the bill unnecessary because peace officers already have protections under Louisiana law that allow harsh punishments for people who are convicted of certain crimes.

Opponents of the bill further note that there isn't any real evidence of there being a war on cops. They went on to note that some of the attacks on police officers weren't actually attacks at all, but instead suicide by the officer. They even said that media pundits, law enforcement and conservatives use attacks on police officers to use minorities as scapegoats.

Whether or not this bill advances further doesn't change the fact that the penalties for hate crimes are harsh. If a hate crime is a part of the criminal case against you, make sure that you address that crime in your defense. The way you would do this depends on the facts of your case.

Source: The Journal, "Louisiana bill would make offenses committed against police hate crimes," Justin Wm. Moyer, April 22, 2016

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