If lawmakers get on board with proposed state legislation, attacking a police officer may soon be a hate crime in Alabama.
This week Alabama Rep. John Rogers asked the state House to pass a new law identifying police officers as a “protected group” so that those who attack them can be prosecuted more severely.
“It is a hate crime because it attacks a certain class of individuals: police officers,” Rogers said to WBRC Fox6 in Birmingham.
According to the FBI, a hate crime is a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” The status of protected classes is limited at the federal level, but allows room for each state to create additional protected classes in accordance with their laws. Rogers’ proposition would make police officers a protected class in Alabama.
This most recent proposal is the next step in the Rep. Jeff Sessions’ 2015 “Thin Blue Line” bill presented in Congress. It also follows in the wake of many state-level laws designed to protect police officers and other first responders.
Rogers intends to officially introduce the new measure February in the next legislative session. “It is a hate crime, so therefore I support it. I will have that bill drawn up tomorrow,” Rogers said.