Abbott Wants to Extend Hate Crime Protections to Police
Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday that he plans to push a new "Police Protection Act" through state Legislature during the 2017 session. The prospective bill, sketched out in deliberate response to the recent shooting deaths of officers in both Dallas and Sunday in Baton Rouge, currently bears no official language. A press release issued by Abbott's office clarified that the proposal would center around re-classifying crimes against state law enforcement as hate crimes, thereby jacking up their respective penalties. For instance, assault against a peace officer, currently a third-degree state jail felony (punishable by 2-10 years), would get escalated one degree (raising the maximum sentence up to 20 years).
Abbott announced his plans nearly a week after Texan U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, introduced language for a federal Back the Blue Act, which would make it a new crime to kill, attempt to kill, or conspire to kill a federal judge, law enforcement, or public safety officer. Any offenders would become subject to the death penalty and face a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years for murder and 10 years for attempted murder. The bill would also increase penalties for assaulting officers and create a new federal crime for leaving one's state to avoid prosecution for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a peace officer.