A national law enforcement organization has called on Congress to pass legislation that would give police officers the same hate crime protections as other specifically-targeted minority classes. The Fraternal Order of Police holds up the murder of Texan Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth as a clear example of a crime that was motivated by the victim’s profession, releasing a statement that encourages lawmakers to do more to protect police officers.
Photo by John Roman / Getty Images
FOP National President Chuck Canterbury released a statement last week on the issue. “In 2009, Congress saw a need to expand the law to protect a group of our fellow citizens who we suspected were being targeted as victims of violence,â€ť he said. â€śIn the last few years, ambush attacks aimed to kill or injure law enforcement officers have risen dramatically. Our officers deserve this same level of protection.â€ť
Canterbury refers to a 2009 piece of legislation that expanded the list of potential hate crime charges â€“ which previously only included race, color, national origin, ethnicity, and religion â€“ to encompass sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and disability. The law allows the courts to hand down more severe punishments to those found guilty of committing crimes specifically against the protected groups.
Earlier this year, the FOP wrote a scathing letter to Congress concerning police slayings in 2014. “Nine deliberate murders of law enforcement officers in the space of a single year also deserves Congressional attention. Enough is enough!” they wrote. So far, 23 police officers have been shot and killed in 2015 alone, according to the FOP.
“All of these officers died because of the uniforms they were wearing. They were killed because their murderers had one purpose-to kill a cop. Our nation’s law enforcement officers deserve better,â€ť Canterbury said. “The FOP will not be silent. We will not be afraid or be rendered paralyzed by political correctness. We will not do nothing.”