In August 2016, Louisiana’s “Blue Lives Matter” bill went into effect. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards (pictured above) signed the new piece of legislation with the intention of protecting police, firefighters and EMS under the state’s hate crime statute. However, a police chief is ready to apply the law to anyone who resists arrest. According to a local ABC affiliate, St. Martinville Police Chief Calder Hebert said this new measure will protect law enforcement and offenders.
“We don’t need the general public being murdered for no reason and we don’t need officers being murdered for no reason. We all need to just work together,” Herbert said. “Resisting an officer or battery of a police officer was just that charge, simply. But now, Governor Edwards, in the legislation, made it a hate crime.”
The “Blue Lives Matter” law does not specifically list resisting arrest as an offense, but does include battery or assault. Under the law, if someone is arrested for petty theft, which is considered a misdemeanor, and the officer thinks that person is resists arrests they can be charged with a felony hate crime, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
“We need the police and the public to work together. The policemen have a job. The public has the job of helping the police. And if someone happens to be involved in criminal activity. Let the courts handle it. Don’t resist physically,” said Hebert.
Herbert hopes the new law proves successful and other states adopt it. “These guys go out there everyday and the main goal is to protect the public and go home at the end of the day. This is one step in making that happen. Hopefully, the rest of the nation follows suit,” said Hebert.
This new measure can have a dangerous affect on many. Julia Craven from The Huffington Post outlined a common scenario that could potentially do more harm than good for the public.
“If a police officer grabs a protester’s arm during a demonstration and that person makes a movement the officer considers aggressive, a minor trespassing or disturbing the peace charge could be bumped up to assault and possibly considered a hate crime.”