Texas Gov. Greg Abbott just signed a new law that shows how serious Texas takes the safety of its police officers.
The new bill, known as the Thin Blue Line Act, increases penalties for crimes where an individual targets police officers.
The text of Texas House Bill 2908 is a piece of legislation “relating to the punishment for a criminal offense committed against a person because of bias or prejudice on the basis of status as a peace officer or judge; increasing a criminal penalty.”
Conservative Tribune reports:
There was only one vote against the bill, coming from Democrat Jarvis D. Johnson of Houston.
The law doesn’t just deal with applying hate crime statues to the killing of officers, either. It increases penalties for targeting policemen across the board. If, for instance, an individual causes serious bodily harm to an officer who’s carrying out their duties, they could be found guilty of a first-degree felony and sentenced to up to 99 years in jail; the sentence could not be any shorter than five years in length and fines of up to $10,000 could be levied.
Moreover, if an “actor restrains an individual the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant,” it’s a felony that could be punishable by 20 years in prison (and not less than two).
The bill was first proposed by Abbott in 2016 after the deadly Dallas police shootings.
“At a time when law enforcement officers increasingly come under assault simply because of the job they hold, Texas must send a resolute message that the State will stand by the men and women who serve and protect our communities,” Abbott said at the time.
“While our state and the nation continue to mourn the heroes lost in Dallas, it is time for us to unite as Texans to say no more,” he continued.
“The men and women in uniform risk their lives every day to protect the public, and it is time we show them the State of Texas has their back. Texas will no longer tolerate disrespect for those who serve, and it must be made clear to anyone targeting our law enforcement officials that their actions will be met with severe justice.
Hopefully more states will follow Texas’ lead and pass similar bills. Our police officers risk their lives every day and it is about time that we show them that we appreciate their efforts.
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