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Should California make it a hate crime to attack a police officer?

A police officer in uniform.
A police officer in uniform.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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In response to a spike in attacks targeting law enforcement, one California Republican wants to make doing so a hate crime.

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte is proposing a bill that would put attacking a police officer under the purview of California’s hate crime statute, and therefore allow for the addition of one to three years onto an offender’s sentence. Proponents in law enforcement say it’s a statement that the governments are standing behind police officers at a time when anti-law enforcement sentiments are more visible and prevalent.

The bill’s detractors say that the state’s penalties for assault or battery on a police officer are harsh enough and that the law would lessen the significance of the hate crime statutes already in place to protect certain vulnerable groups.


Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz, vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League

Jody David Armour, Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the USC Gould School of Law