Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
News

ADL Criticizes ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Bill That Would Make Police Shootings a Hate Crime

A new bill that would make it a hate crime to attack a police officer in New York State has drawn opposition from the Anti-Defamation League, which drafted the hate crime laws now in place in many states across the country.

According to the ADL, the proposed law would make it harder for prosecutors to make cases against people who attack police. In a statement, the ADL’s New York Regional Director, Evan Bernstein, said that the law would be “harmful.”

The bill, proposed in the New York State Assembly by Ronald Castorina, a Republican representing parts of Staten Island, would be among the first nationwide to protect a profession under hate crime laws, which were created to stiffen penalties for crimes motivated by racial and ethnic bias. A similar bill, also opposed by the ADL, was recently signed into law in Louisiana.

“The Blue Lives Matter bill will provide our Police Officers with greater protection against assault because of the heightened penalties associated with this legislation,” Castorina said in a statement. “People will now think twice before they assault a Police Officer with the knowledge that they could be charged with a ‘hate crime’.”

The text of Castorina’s bill has not yet been made public.

Castorina’s proposal comes during a summer of heated rhetoric over race and policing. In his statement announcing the bill, Castorina cited the July shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas, and the shooting deaths, days later, of three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Assaulting a police officer in New York State already carries extra-stiff penalties. Tacking on hate crime designations, according to Castorina, would go even farther to increase attackers’ potential jail sentences.

Yet the ADL believes that Castorina’s proposal would backfire.

The ADL has led the development of hate crimes statues across the United States for decades. Forty-three states have adopted hate crime laws based on or similar to model legislation that the ADL drafted in 1983.

In a June blog post arguing against the new Louisiana Blue Lives Matter bill, the ADL noted that the inherent weaknesses of hate crime laws would make hate crime cases involving police more difficult to prosecute. Hate crime laws, the group wrote, would require that the prosecutors prove that the defendant attacked a police officer because they were a police officer. Otherwise, the hate crime charges won’t stick.

“That additional intent requirement, which is not included in existing laws covering attacks on police officers, would make prosecutions more difficult, not easier,” the organization wrote.

The ADL also argued in the blog post that including police as a class protected by hate crime laws “confuses the purpose” of hate crime legislation.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com or follow him on Twitter, @joshnathankazis.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    NY-12 Candidate Forum

    THE TEMPLE EMANU-EL STREICKER CENTER and Virtual

    Aug 10, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    Will the last Jew left in New York’s congressional delegation be reelected? Will New York’s senior congresswoman receive another term? Or will one of the newcomers upend Manhattan politics?

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at help@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.