‘Blue Lives Matter’ Creeping Though Alabama Legislature

Legislators in Alabama are trying to pass a “blue lives matter” bill that laughably ties gun-wielding cops to groups of historically-lynched and mistreated minorities and women.

Alabama law currently states that “it is the right of every person, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical or mental disability to be secure and protected from threats of reasonable fear, intimidation, harassment, and physical harm caused by activities of groups and individuals.” House Bill 229, however, tweaks that law to say: “It is the right of every person, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical or mental disability, or employment as a law enforcement officer, to be secure and protected from threats of reasonable fear, intimidation, harassment, and physical harm caused by activities of groups and individuals.”

The wording suggests that a whole career class, containing people who carry firearms and rack up an alarming record of murders with those firearms, need protection from the minorities they routinely slaughter. It further suggests that U.S. juries don’t already let the vast number of murdering cops walk free, despite evidence inextricably linking them to their crimes.

A host of organizations, including the ACLU, the NAACP and the National Bar Association opposed similar legislation introduced on the national level last year, claiming such laws are a “divisive” and “political” response “to the growing national movement for police accountability in the face of continued killings and assaults of unarmed African Americans.”

Moreover, the group points out that police already enjoy substantial protection from federal and state criminal laws, and that “law enforcement is not subject to increasing or widespread attacks.”

People with big weapons that put 20 holes in you in a matter of seconds do not need to be a protected class, is the big argument. They can pretty much look after themselves. Worse yet, they can wield their protected status like an additional weapon, so long as they do it before a friendly jury.

Black Mississippi legislators voiced similar argument in 2017 when White Republicans sought to pass a comparable bill. Sen. Derrick Simmons, D-Greenville, offered an amendment to add a body-camera requirement to the legislation, only to have his amendment killed by opponents who preferred to keep police shootings in the dark. Sen. Barbara Blackmon entered her own rejected amendment seeking protections for victims targeted by law enforcement officers. Black legislators argued that police can skew their testimony and turn almost any un-recorded incident into a hate crime without video proof—even if the suspect is fleeing. Under that scenario, any cop with a grudge against you can pile extra years onto your sentence, just because they don’t like your face.

Laws like this are already working to pile extra prison time and “hate crime” status onto suspects accused of assaulting police officers. Sometimes those suspects are even other members of law enforcement.

Of course, when you increase prison time, you create more prisoners, and that’s rarely a good thing if your state resources are stretched thin by crap revenue and low taxes. ACLU Public Advocacy Director Lucia Herno said the Alabama ACLU was monitoring the bill’s movement in the legislature, but argued that the bill would serve only to increase penalties upon suspects and further choke Alabama’s glutted and overpriced prison system.

“The Department of Justice has already come into Alabama and ordered us to drastically reduce the number of people we have incarcerated in our department of corrections,” Herno told Lighthouse. “Any bill that increases penalties and increases prison time is obviously wrong for Alabama.”

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