According to the Southern Illinoisan, lawmakers have pushed forward a bill that could make an act of violence toward a police officer, correctional officer, or emergency responder a hate crime, if it can be established that the crime was committed in order to terrorize or intimidate that person because of their protected status (of being a law enforcer or first responder). The bill is being co-sponsored by Southern Illinois Sens. Paul Schimpf and Dale Fowler as part of their campaign promises. If the bill becomes law, it could mean extra punishment for those who are charged with police battery, which is already a serious felony in Illinois.
Opponents of the Bill Point to The Fact That Adequate Laws Are Already in Place
The Black Lives Matter movement was initiated to bring awareness to the brutal and deadly treatment that African-Americans often face when they have encounters with the police. You are more likely to be stopped and frisked, beaten, taken to jail, or killed by a law enforcement agent if you are black than if you are white. The statistics have been gathered for decades, yet little to nothing has been done to combat police abuse of minorities, especially African-Americans. Opponents of the bill point to the blatant disregard for what the Black Lives Matter movement is attempting to accomplish: putting an end to police abuse. And, Ed Yohnka of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, makes that claim that he thinks “the problem with this proposal, really, you can sort of read it in the title of Blue Lives Matter, because it’s clearly an attempt to shift focus away from the work of the Black Lives Matter movement.” Furthermore, Mr. Yohnka said that laws that appropriately penalize violence against law enforcement already exist and that, “Those laws have been in place for a number of years.”