Our police officers always place themselves in harm's way to fight crime and protect communities, but now they face an even more dangerous environment as they have often become the targets. The unfortunate state of affairs was evident in Dallas last weekend when five cops were gunned down during a Black Lives Matter protest. Former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush were joined on Tuesday by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden at a somber, yet hopeful memorial service in Dallas to recognize the brave fallen officers.
The Dallas tragedy demands congressional action, according to a few lawmakers. U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) have introduced the Back the Blue Act to ensure criminals receive due punishment for attacking police.
“Law enforcement officers selflessly put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities, and in return they deserve our unparalleled support for the irreplaceable role they serve,” Sen. Cornyn said. “The Back the Blue Act sends a clear message that our criminal justice system simply will not tolerate those who viciously and deliberately target our law enforcement. As our country continues to grieve following last week’s tragedy in Dallas, we must come together in support of those who risk everything to keep us safe.”
In particular, the legislation includes the following stricter criminal provisions:
- Creates a new federal crime for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally-funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to the death penalty and a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years for murder and a minimum sentence of 10 years for attempted murder.
- Creates a new federal crime for assaulting a federally-funded law enforcement officer, with escalating penalties including mandatory minimums, based on the extent of any injury and the use of a dangerous weapon.
- Creates a new federal crime for interstate flight to avoid prosecution for killing, attempting to kill, or conspiring to kill a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer, or federally-funded public safety officer. The offender would be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
The bill also strengthens police officers' ability to protect themselves, giving them authority, for instance, to carry firearms into federal facilities.