NEW YORK — A Staten Island assemblyman proposed a 'Blue Lives Matter' bill Thursday that would make it a hate crime to assault police officers.
If passed, Ronald Castorina's bill would ensure people who assault cops are hit with harsher penalties. A similar law, the first of its kind, was rolled out in Louisiana earlier this year. Hate crimes are traditionally based around race, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, but Castorina's bill seeks to add career choice to that list.
“Protecting the men and women that risk their lives protecting the public every single day is a paramount concern for me as an elected official,” said Assemblyman Castorina.
The bill will provide officers with greater protection, Castorina said. The Assemblyman's interest in providing increased protection for officers was sparked by recent attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
"People will now think twice before they assault a police officer with the knowledge that they could be charged with a ‘hate crime,'" Castorina said. "I will always stand up for and defend those good and just public servants that risk their lives for us each and every day.”
The number of officers shot and killed nationwide is 70 percent higher now than it was at this time last year, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Police Commissioner William Bratton said he is not familiar with the particulars of the bill, but he intends to look into it.
“Our men and women in uniform deserve every protection we can give them. Everyday, they protect our families and often at great risk to themselves," Councilman Steven Matteo (R - S.I.) said in a statement. "This legislation will ensure that those who target police officers because of the uniforms they wear, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The officers of the NYPD always have our backs; we should always have theirs.”