Should Attacks On Police Be A Hate Crime? Some Say Yes, But...

July 13, 2016Jul 13, 2016

Every day since the deadly ambush that killed five police officers during a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas there have been reports of other officers targeted across the country, and the number of incidents seems to be increasing over the past week. Even within a day of the Dallas attack, another man also targeted police, wounding two officers in Tennessee; a Georgia officer was shot during an ambush; and a Missouri officer was hit in the neck by a bullet during a traffic stop. A couple days later, 21 officers were injured by protestors blocking a bridge in St. Paul, Minnesota who then attacked them, according to CBS Minnesota. An officer suffered a severe back injury.

One senator has a plan for how to reduce these "especially outrageous" attacks in his home state, and other states may consider doing the same.

According to, New Jersey Sen. Joe Kyrillos believes that attacks on police officers, along with other first responders, should be charged as hate crimes.

Kyrillos explained, "We cannot allow an entire class of public servants to be targeted for violence due to their profession. If such attacks don't qualify as hate crimes, I don't know what does."

New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Colligan says the "hate crime" bill Kryillos wants to introduce "sends the message that [police are] a separate class. I know commercial fishermen and coal miners have a more dangerous profession (in terms of on-the-job deaths), but they're killed because of accidents. We're targeted because of the uniform."

But New Jersey's ACLU public policy director Ari Rosmarin says a new law would be unnecessary because New Jersey's current law already classifies assaults on officers are more egregious than on civilians and killing an officer requires life without parole.

Do you think attacking a police officer should be a hate crime? Or do you have a better idea for how to help reduce these incidences?