ACLU of Mississippi opposes Blue Lives Matter bill - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

ACLU of Mississippi opposes Blue Lives Matter bill

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) -

The ACLU of Mississippi is speaking out against a bill that's intended to protect police officers.

The "Blue Lives Matter" bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. The committee's chairman is State Sen. Sean Tindell of Gulfport.

If approved and signed into law, the legislation would make it a hate crime to target and injure a law enforcement officer.

In a statement, Jennifer Riley-Collins, the Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said, "Not only is this bill unnecessary, but there is absolutely no evidence it will make police safer."

Here is the full statement from the ACLU of Mississippi:

“Proponents of ‘Blue Lives Matter’ legislation, SB 2469, which would enhance penalties for crimes against police officers by making them hate crimes, pay lip service to protecting the police without actually doing so. Not only is this bill unnecessary, but there is absolutely no evidence it will make police safer. Statistics show that violence against police is down. There are already severe, enhanced penalties for assaults on police officers in Mississippi. This bill, and others like it, prioritize police over people.

“Rather than focusing on how to address a non-existent problem, we need to focus on addressing the very real and pressing problem of how poor communities and people of color in Mississippi are targeted by biased over-policing devoid of transparency and accountability. The current state of policing in Mississippi and the failure of the legislature to pass meaningful police reform fosters continued community mistrust for law enforcement.

“Claiming that there is a war against police does a disservice to everyone. A more useful approach would be to create a better working environment for police officers through building community partnerships and trust. Community trust requires law enforcement agencies be transparent and accountable to ensuring that people in all communities receive fair and equitable policing services. Instead of taking this unbalanced approach of ‘protecting police,’ the Mississippi legislature should adopt the ACLU of Mississippi’s five reforms to police accountability that promote fair practices to protect public safety, civil rights, and the emergency personnel that we depend on to keep us safe.”

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