Louisiana to Become First State Where Police Superiority is Codified into Law

In the wake of yesterday’s acquittal of one of the police officers in Baltimore, Maryland involved in the slaying of Freddie Gray and the non-indictment of another officer in Austin, Texas who shot and killed an obviously unarmed teenager (he was naked), lawmakers in the state of Louisiana have decided to take the egregious step of making sure their state is the first in the nation where the up until this point unwritten rule of police supremacy is officially codified into law. With the passage of HB 953, aka the ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bill , police officers will be designated as a ‘protected class’ and any attack on a law enforcement officer, regardless of whether it’s an act of self-defense or not, can and likely will be prosecuted as a hate crime. In other words, attacking or defending oneself against a police officer will be legally akin to targeting and assaulting someone due to their actual or perceived race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation.

picture of a reactionary ‘blue lives matter’ billboard in Lake Charles, Louisiana taken by the blog owner in November, 2015

The reactionary slogan ‘blue lives matter’ is of course meant to mock the Black Lives Matter movement by replacing Black with the police uniform color of blue. Last year billboards began popping up across the country and across Louisiana in particular with the hashtag #bluelivesmatter in order to give the impression that somehow cop lives are under assault. The co-opting of the Black Lives Matter message by attempting to apply it instead to cops ignores the very reality that in the eyes of the law Black lives are most often treated as if they are worth less than others, whereas in the case of police officers their lives are always treated as if they in fact matter more than everyone else’s. This is not an exaggeration. Police officers who kill unarmed Black men, women and children are virtually never held to account. They are certainly not convicted on the very few occasions they are indicted; usually there’s not an indictment at all. On the other hand, anyone – and especially a Black person – who is accused of killing a police officer regardless of the circumstances is basically assured an automatic death penalty.

The author of the Fraternal Order of Police-backed bill, which passed unanimously in the House by a vote of 91-0, is Republican state legislator Rep. Lance Harris. According to Harris, “There is a concerted effort in some areas to terrorize and attack police”. He cited “social media attacks” as evidence. The numbers don’t support his contention however. As noted on the Huffington Post,

“rates of assault and deadly violence against police in the U.S. have actually declined. Only 41 police officers were intentionally killed while on duty in 2015… making it one of the safest years for police officers on record, according to preliminary statistics from the FBI.”

You will note that the FBI keeps meticulous records and stats on any sort of violent actions against police officers. The same cannot be said when it comes to tracking violence committed by police officers against civilians. That task had to be taken up first by alternative media outlets and later by the UK Guardian newspaper. For the record, the number of civilians who died at the hands of police in 2015 was around 1,200. Continued on the Huffington Post,

“Officers are heavily protected by the justice system: They typically do not face legal repercussions for using lethal force against civilians, and when someone kills an officer, they are usually swiftly prosecuted to the full extent of the law. In some states, such as Michigan and New York, killing a police officer is an automatic first-degree murder charge.”

Speaking out against the soon-to-become law is the New Orleans Chapter of the Black Youth Project, which has called on Louisiana’s Governor to veto the bill. In the words of BYP100’s Savannah Shange, “We have to stop this malicious trend before it starts – we cannot allow the gains of the civil rights movement to be squandered away by police officers scrambling to avoid criticism from their constituents.” The chapter’s official statement reads:

“In Louisiana, the murders of Eric Harris by parish officers in New Orleans, handcuffed Victor White III in New Iberia and Armand Bennett at a routine traffic stop show us that police officers operate with impunity in our state and do not need additional protections. We, the people, need protection from police… Including ‘police’ as a protected class in hate crime legislation would serve to provide more protection to an institution that is statistically proven to be racist in action, policy, and impact.”

First-year Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has announced he will sign the bill into law later this week. With the Fraternal Order of Police being able to push such a horrific proposal into law, other state legislatures may soon be pressured to follow in Louisiana’s footsteps.

20 thoughts

  1. Reblogged this on Wobbly Warrior's Blog and commented:
    ” … Including ‘police’ as a protected class in hate crime legislation would serve to provide more protection to an institution that is statistically proven to be racist in action, policy, and impact.” ~ Black Youth Project

    1. Thanks. I know I don’t have as much time to blog anymore unfortunately. But this is such an outrage!! I’m in Louisiana so im officially living in a police state right now, while the rest of you for the moment are I guess living in an unofficial police state.

  2. It reminded me French police protest at last week. Laborers and unions have been making protests against new “injustice and inhumane working law” for last months. And last week it had experinced the big events at Paris streets. And a police car was burned. After then, in this time, French police made an protest which they gave a name “action against hatred from police”. It was maybe the very first time at planet Earth.:)

    But my Earthling friend, the US police act which you told in your post, it seems to me tragi-comic. Maybe the US police trolls the public with this banner; is it possible? 🙂

    1. Well, if that’s what they’re doing – trolling – they’re doing a very good job of it. Unfortunately it seems their job description is troll the people, kill the people, arrest the people, fine the people, but never protect the people.

      1. Unfortunately, the same all over the world. People create their own monsters with their taxes. Like Joseph Stiglitz‘s words in the letter from his book “The Price of Inequality”:
        “How bizarre is that you set up a government which precencors to your opinion and takes your freedom from your hands, eventually will kill you by police bullet!
        How bizarre is that you provide the money for establishing a government which breaks your nose and puts you into jail with your own tax money!”

        Governments are so-called selected by the public, but you know my Earthling friend, they need own army because actually all elections systems are wrong, they are not selected by public, they are selected by capitalist-elites. And this armed army they needed is police forces. How many poeple died or injured is not important for them. Important thing you know, their rules must be continued, whatever it cost. Creating fear is also very usefull for this.

        For example, last 12 years, Turkey goverment imported 62 tons of pepper spray and tear gas and paid about 22 million dollars for them. If it is compared to the population of Turkey Republic, it means that 1125 kilos pepper spray for each person. How a generous government, isn’t it:) Also, according to reports, in 2015, pepper spray is used at 224 days of 365 days.

        But most people like them, they think that “they protect us”. Like in France, after the Paris massacre, according to the survey, people think that “if police will protect us, they can take the some measures” and French public supports to police nearly 80%.

        In this case, unless the public isn’t aware, police forces more troll the public with most tragicomic ways.

        1. France seems to be going through similar what the US went through in the aftermath of 9/11 and the hastily passed “patriot act” which was really a way to erase the so-called bill of rights. And I did not know that fact about Turkey – 1125 kilos pepper spray for each person?!! That’s astounding.

          1. Yes, totally you’re right! They are building horror empire that is fed by people’s fear! Besides it seems 1125 kilos pepper gas for each person is very few for government of Turkey that the government is planning to buy new pepper gas in four type with paying $17 millon. These number is only about pepper gas, there are also thousands of sound-light flares, smoke grenades, and the chemicals which is using for anti-riot cannon vehicle.

            I am sure it is more or less same in the USA. Governments are arming against own public for maintaining their lawless wars out of their lands. Mankind is already in war, my Earthling friend, but not out of the countries’ borders, just it needs to be look at right point. “Welcome to hell” has never become true like this on the planet 🙂

              1. Of course! Even if my space ship seems little bit junk, every one of my Earthling friends is already under the guarantee of first-class travel 🙂

              2. Of course! Even if my space ship seems little bit junk, every one of my Earthling friends is already under the guarantee of first-class travel 🙂

              3. Of course! Even if my space ship seems little bit junk, every one of my Earthling friends is already under the guarantee of first-class travel 🙂

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