Should killing a police officer constitute a “hate crime?”
It’s pretty amazing how the media are able to give their viewers and readers certain opinions, without those viewers and readers even realizing it. Just six months ago, I doubt most readers on this site would be in favor of characterizing the murdering of a cop to be a hate crime. A crime, sure. But not a hate crime.
But because of how the media spun the Ferguson story to set civilians and cops even more against each other under the false pretense of racism in law enforcement (while totally ignoring all other cases of wrongful death and excessive force by police on non-black civilians), even conservatives today would be in favor of anything that glorifies the police the most.
If that means all of a sudden being in favor of police confiscating people’s guns for any excuse imaginable or being in favor of police routinely violating the 4th Amendment (especially in New York where the 2nd Amendment is essentially a dead letter), then so be it. After all, they’re just doing their jobs. If it means making it a hate crime to kill a cop, then great. Suddenly, we’re all supposed to be in favor of hate crime legislation.
With over 300,000 members, the National Fraternal Order of Police wants crimes against police officers to fall under the Congressional hate crimes statute. The move comes in the wake of the brutal murders of two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
The group sent a letter to the White House and Congress asking for the change.
“Right now, it’s a hate crime if you attack someone solely because of the color of their skin, but it ought to be a hate crime if you attack someone solely because of the color of their uniform as well,” said Jim Pasco, the executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“Enough is enough! It’s time for Congress to do something to protect the men and women who protect us,” Chuck Canterbury, the president of the union, said in a statement Monday. The group has long lobbied for harsher punishment for those who harm law enforcement officers.
The organization argues that “ambush attacks” — like the one in which NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were killed last month — are frequently motivated by hatred of the police. According to FBI statistics, about 21.7 percent of non-accidental law enforcement deaths since 2004 were ambush attacks.
I know that criticizing the police is very politically incorrect these days (and probably should be regarded as hate crime), but this hate crime designation is only going to make police-civilian relations worse than they already are.
Already, police are given the automatic benefit of the doubt when they decide to beat up some guy for no apparent reason while shouting, “Stop reaching for my gun!” or “Stop resisting!” (while the dash cam footage shows no grabbing for the cop’s gun or resisting by the civilian). If they decide to shoot and kill an innocent civilian, not much happens to the cop, except he might get put on paid administrative leave while his bosses contrive a story to cover him investigate the incident. (And no, I’m not talking about Ferguson.)
There are civilians who have murdered police. That fact is inescapable, and those civilians, if they’re still alive, should be executed for murder.
But it’s also undeniable that many police have killed innocent civilians. But because of their status, we’re told to cut them some slack as they’re only “doing their jobs.”
The no-knock police raids probably outrage me the most. So many of them are conducted based on questionable-at-best intel often offered by an anonymous informant, and they end up killing one of the residents for holding a gun in his own house. Then they search the place and find no evidence of crime, realize that their “informant” was lying, or that they had raided the wrong house, and that the armed resident was only reacting naturally to a home invasion. But because they’re police, they’re let off the hook. The fact that the police were only following protocol doesn’t make their actions less of a crime.
Those are the stories that don’t get a lot of attention. If those were given the attention that Ferguson got, people would see that there isn’t a white-cop-on-black-civilian problem in America. There’s a cop-on-civilian problem that’s only being exacerbated by the media and political opportunists. It has the effect of causing civilians to be more fearful of police and police to feel justified in being more aggressive towards civilians. The media and political opportunists are trying desperately to create the equivalent of a race war between cops and civilians.
The police union thinks that the Ramos and Liu murders were motivated by hatred of police. Well, I’d argue that much of the excessive force and wrongful deaths we see by police exacted on civilians is motivated by their hatred of civilians. But I don’t think that should be a hate crime. We’re in as much need of classifying killing a cop as a hate crime as we are of classifying cops killing innocent civilians as a hate crime.
Cops aren’t above the law, and neither are civilians. Both should be treated equally. If a cop kills an innocent civilian, there should be consequences, just as there should be consequences if a civilian kills an innocent cop. Both should be given the benefit of the doubt and presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. There’s no need to designate yet another “hate crime.”