Last Tuesday, May 17, the Louisiana House and Senate passed a bill, by a combined vote of 124 – 3, that defines police as a protected class.
The law reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to select the victim of the following offenses against person and property because of actual or perceived race, age, gender, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry of that person or the owner or occupant of that property or because of actual or perceived membership or service in, or employment with, an organization, or because of actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer… first or second degree murder; manslaughter; battery; aggravated battery; second degree battery; aggravated assault with a firearm; terrorizing; mingling harmful substances; simple or third degree rape, forcible or second degree rape, or 18 aggravated or first degree rape; sexual battery, second degree sexual battery; oral sexual battery; carnal knowledge of a juvenile; indecent behavior with juveniles; molestation of a juvenile or a person with a physical or mental disability; simple, second degree, or aggravated kidnapping; simple or aggravated arson; communicating of false information of planned arson; simple or aggravated criminal damage to property; contamination of water supplies; simple or aggravated burglary; criminal trespass; simple, first degree, or armed robbery; purse snatching; extortion; theft; desecration of graves; institutional vandalism; or assault by drive-by shooting.”
The significance of the new law seems to be more symbolic than actual.
Fraternal Order Of Police
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign the new law which was heavily promoted by the largest police union in the United States. Edwards issued a press release that said, “Police officers and firefighters often perform life-saving acts of heroism, oftentimes under very dangerous circumstances, and are integral in maintaining order and civility in our society. The members of the law enforcement community deserve these protections, and I look forward to signing this bill into law.”
In a prepared statement, Chuck Canterbury, who is the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police , said, “Talking heads on television and inflammatory rhetoric on social media are inciting acts of hatred and violence toward our nation’s peace officers. Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop.”
The FOP has also launched a public relations campaign called “Our True Heroes” which is intended to “educate the public on the positive role that law enforcement plays in our communities.”
Canterbury has noticed that. “public support for law enforcement is at an all-time low.”
The Louisiana law is the result of a national, public relations campaign called “Blue Lives Matter” that includes the goal of making police a protected class under federal law.