A Republican who leads the state house of representatives is drafting a bill to give police additional legal protections by creating for them a special hate-protected legal category that penalizes anyone who injures a cop.
Tennessee House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick calls his “the blue lives matter bill” that gives “public safety workers” a protected status.
By David Tulis
He is inspired by a similar measure that became law in Louisiana. There, a so-called hate crime against a cop pads prison sentences with an additional five years and piles on $5,000 for any fines.
“I have enormous respect for the men and women who put on a uniform and risk their lives on a daily basis to serve and protect our communities,” Mr. McCormick says to TV9. “Just recently, I read about an incident in our state that involved individuals firing multiple shots at a highway patrol station. Frankly, I’m tired of watching the news and seeing our public servants assaulted by those they protect. Individuals must realize that attacking a police officer or a firefighter or emergency medical personnel in this state, simply, will not be tolerated, and I believe this legislation will help meet that goal.”
Police already have a virtually unlimited legal immunity for acts ostensibly within the scope of their authority. They are immune from claims caused by their injuries to members of the public. They are a protected class whose members, without legal consequence, kill people whose death is unwarranted and not the result of conviction for a capital crime.
Mr. McCormick is mistaken to think that state actors — especially police — need protections beyond what they already have. If anything, these legal immunities should be reduced — to make the state actor more careful about thrashing, tazing or firing bullets into civilians.
Such statutes violate common law and biblical law principles by characterizing the motive of a beating or shooting. Crimes should be prosecuted only if mens rea or guilty mind exists — intent to violate a law. Hate crime statutes reach into that intent and penalize certain categories of intent more than others. So shooting a cop is more wicked than lawlessly shooting a golfer or a North Shore pedestrian.