The 300,000-member Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is demanding that the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama “act now” to expand the federal hate crimes statute and add police officers as a protected class.
In a recent press release, the police union boasts that it has spent years lobbying for more federalization of crime and punishment. The presser cites a handful of recent incidents, nationally, in which police officers were attacked while on the job.
“Enough is enough! It’s time for Congress to do something to protect the men and women who protect us,” said union president Chuck Canterbury.
The federal government’s 1969 hate crime law has been expanded several times and already criminalizes [attempted] bodily injury against anyone based on race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. Penalties for committing a “hate crime” extend to up to 10 years in federal prison.
The FOP proposal would add the basis of “uniform” to the current list.
There are two main principled reasons to oppose all federal hate crime legislation. First, is the basic legal tenet that all people should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. The judicial process should not be dependent upon the demographics of the victim or defendant. This is the reason that “Lady Justice” wears a blindfold while holding the Scales of Justice. Violence against anyone — regardless of the identities or beliefs of those involved — should be prohibited equally and impartially in a fair and just system.
Secondly, the federal government has no legitimate authority to create such laws. The U.S. Constitution — specifically Article 1, Section 8 — offers no mention of the federal government having the ability to prohibit crimes of violence between citizens for any reason. Crimes such as assault and murder are properly prohibited at the state-level and are enforced by state or local agencies — not the FBI. To broaden the scope of federal law enforcers is a mistake and a move toward more centralized authoritarianism.
Readers are advised to oppose the Fraternal Order of Police’s agenda to nationalize crime statutes and create legally protected classes of citizens.