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Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs law making attacking police officers a Hate Crime

June 19, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signs law making attacking police officers a Hate Crime

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The one-year anniversary of the executions of five police officers in Dallas is weeks away, but the state of Texas has already reacted by making it a hate crime to murder cops. The new legislation also applies to offenses committed against judges. The signing of the law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott occurs just weeks after the U.S. House passed the Thin Blue Line Act.

The “Police Protection Act” (HB 2908) in Texas enhances penalties and punishments for crimes “committed against a person because of bias on the basis of status as a peace officer or judge.”

Only one Texas lawmaker voted against the bill – Jarvis D. Johnson, a Texas House representative from Houston, Breitbart Texas reported.

A person who induces bodily injury to an officer or a judge while that person was in the discharge of their duties would be guilty of a first-degree felony if convicted. This would be punishable by up to 99 years to life behind bars, but the sentence would be no less than five years. The criminal can also be fined up to $10,000.

Shannon J. Miles left fatally gunned down Dep. Darren Goforth (right) last year near Houston

Furthermore, if a person restrains an officer or judge while they are discharging an official duty, “or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of power or performance of duty as an officer or judge,” the person would be guilty of a second-degree felony. The offense carries a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars but not less than two years.

The new policy makes a threat made against a peace or judicial officer a crime punishable as a felony if the person threatens any crime involving violence with the intent to place the officer in fear of imminent bodily injury. The crime was formerly a Class A misdemeanor.

Close to one year ago, Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth was killed, along with the ambush of five Dallas officers. Micah X Johnson murdered five officers and injured seven others after a Black Lives Matter protest last July. Johnson, a former member of the New Black Panther Party, said he “wanted to kill white people especially officers.” Johnson was killed after authorities used a robot to ignite a bomb next t him.

In August 2015, a Sandra Bland protest was held at the Waller County Jail in Texas when a group of armed individuals of the New Black Panther Party chanted – “The revolution is on… Off the pigs,” along with “Oink Oink… Bang Bang!”

Texas governor Greg Abbott signs law making attacks on officers hate crime

Roughly two weeks later, Deputy Darren Goforth was murdered in cold blood. The deputy was fatally shot from behind as he walked out of a gas station. He was in uniform, and he was walking toward his patrol vehicle. The man was shot 15 times in the back and the head. Then-Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said that Shannon Miles, the defendant who is believed to have pulled the trigger, shot Deputy Goforth simply because he was an officer.

Just after the Dallas shootings, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the Police Protection Act. Abbott said he was going to urge the Legislature to pass the law during the next session.

“While our state continues to mourn the heroes lost in Dallas, it is time to unite as Texans to say no more,” Governor Abbott said. “Men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect the public, and it is time we show them Texas has their back… and will no longer tolerate disrespect for those who serve, and it must be clear to anyone targeting our officials that their actions will be met with justice.” Abbott continued,

“At a time when increasingly come under assault because of the job they hold, Texas must send a message that the State will stand by those who serve and protect our communities.”

The Police Protection Act will go into effect on September 1st, 2017.

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