State Politics

Coast senator wants to protect blue lives; ACLU says not so fast

A police officer wipes away tears at the funeral service for a Texas officer recently killed in the line of duty. In Mississippi, the death penalty applies in cases where officers are killed, but Coast Sen. Sean Tindell believes the state’s enhanced hate crime penalties also should apply to other crimes against first responders.
A police officer wipes away tears at the funeral service for a Texas officer recently killed in the line of duty. In Mississippi, the death penalty applies in cases where officers are killed, but Coast Sen. Sean Tindell believes the state’s enhanced hate crime penalties also should apply to other crimes against first responders. AP

State Sen. Sean Tindell has introduced a bill that would enhance penalties under the state’s hate-crimes law for anyone targeting for injury law enforcement officers, firefighters or emergency medical technicians.

The bill has passed the Senate’s Judiciary A Committee and is headed to the full Senate for a vote.

Tindell told the (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger although the death penalty can be applied to someone who kills a law enforcement officer, his bill adds enhanced sentences for other crimes against first responders.

“I think everyone is aware where law enforcement were targeted, especially in Dallas,” Tindell told the media company.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi is not so keen on Tindell’s proposal.

A statement on its website says proponents of Tindell’s SB 2469 pay only “lip service” to protecting officers. “Statistics show that violence against police is down,” the statement says, in part. “There are already severe, enhanced penalties for assaults on police officers in Mississippi. This bill, and others like it, prioritize police over people.”

Tindell texted a response to the Sun Herald from the legislative session in Jackson: “Simple assault on a law enforcement officer is a felony. But this is different. This bill doubles the penalty, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, if the state can prove to a jury that the defendant was targeting first responders solely because of their profession. We have had hate crimes on the books since the 90s, so it is nothing new. We protect those that protect us.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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