Val Demings' Protect and Serve Passes in the House
The House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would toughen federal penalties against people who intentionally target law enforcement officers in attacks. The Protect and Serve Act was introduced by CBC member Congresswoman Val Demings (D-FL), a former Orlando Police Chief, and Congressman John Rutherford (R-FL). The controversial legislation also mandates that if the crime results in the death of a law enforcement officer, or the crime involves kidnapping or the attempt to kidnap or kill a law enforcement officer, then the sentence can be up to life in prison. A similar measure proposed by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) would make it a hate crime. "We cannot ask our officers to do this work while failing to cope with the consequences,'' Demings tweeted. "We must take care of them so they can take care of us." We checked. There are no studies or statistics to show that police are in any more danger now than they have previously been. In fact, evidence shows that violence against law enforcement has been in overall decline for 25 years. Opponents of the legislation argue there should be more efforts to improve relations between law enforcement and communities of color. As video documentation of police brutality increases, the legislation is seen by many as a disconnected policy choice that disregards grassroots movements that demand fair and constitutional policing. Additionally, many civil rights groups say the law is unnecessary and duplicates measures that are already in place. More here.