FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Following last week’s deadly ambush on police officers, local lawmakers now working to classify any attacks against police a hate crime.
Massachusetts representatives Alan Silvia from Fall River and Michelle Dubois from Plymouth have filed a bill to put officers in the list of classes that are protected under the hate crimes law.
Silvia served on the Fall River Police Department for two decades. “Having been a victim of assault on many many occasions, I can understand that this… could be important legislation,” he said.
According to Silvia, Dubois began drafting the legislation after an Auburn Police Officer was killed in the life of duty.
The bill would give extra legal protection to police. “Quite often those charges, those assault and battery of a police officer are dismissed,” explained Silvia. “Or they’re looked upon as secondary to the original offense,” he added.
Those who oppose the law have said that adding the additional intent requirement would only make cases of justice for police even harder to prove in court.
Silvia defended the bill though, and said that “judges decide punishment, judges decide what motivated a crime, on occasion it’s clear that it was motivated by hate and prejudice.”