McCormick says hate crime bill will end ‘toleration’ of attacks on cops

These motorcycle cops in Chattanooga deserve special legal body armor beyond what they already have, a Chattanooga politician says. (Photo Chattanooga Police Department)

These motorcycle cops in Chattanooga wear body armor. They also are protected by laws that immunize them in their exercise of state violence against individuals. But a GOP politician intends to beef up their legal shield with a new law. (Photo Chattanooga Police Department)

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 F$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.


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