Police Lights

In Louisiana, a law was passed to make police officers a special protected class. It's generally known as the "Blue Lives Matter" law, and it makes it so that attacking a police officer is not just illegal, but a hate crime. Similar laws can make it a hate crime to attack someone based on their ethnicity, for instance, but Louisiana became the fist state in the country to give this protection to police based on their occupation.

The idea behind the law was to give harsher punishments to people who attacked police officers specifically because they were police officers, not because of anything they'd done, which would show there was a discriminatory element to the actions. Not every assault on an officer would necessarily be considered a hate crime. If the officer's occupation was the reason, though, the law could be used.

This distinction is important because police used it for the first time, and some are now saying they used it incorrectly.

A Homeless Man

The man who was arrested was homeless, and reports indicate that he was drunk. He broke a window, and police arrived. He then verbally assaulted the officers, yelling slurs at them. The slurs were racial and sexual in nature. Because of them, he faced hate crime charges.

Police Shootings

As can be seen, this incident, while illegal, was far different from what was intended with this law. It was supposed to help increase charges after occurrences like police shootings, one of which took the lives of three officers in Baton Rouge. Another left five officers dead in Dallas. By comparison, a drunk homeless man breaking a window and yelling at arresting officers obviously isn't even in the same ballpark.

Setting Precedents

Every time a new law is passed, the initial precedents are incredibly important. They help set the stage for how it will be used and show the real power and scope of the law. In this case, some limitations may have been created, and the definition of a hate crime has been defined a bit more clearly. Anyone charged with a hate crime under the new law needs to know what an impact this has had.