New law would prosecute attacks on police as hate crimes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When the Missouri legislature convenes in Jefferson City this month, lawmakers will consider including targeted actions against law enforcement as hate crimes.

There are already tough laws in place for physically attacking a law enforcement officer.

But this proposal would impose stiffer penalties for any crime targeted at law enforcement because of their job.

Things like police cars being keyed, egged or vandalized would be classified as hate crimes.

Some are calling it "feel good" legislation that's unnecessary because cops should know there's an implied risk in their career.

The Ad Hoc Group Against Crime works with both police and citizens to safeguard the civil rights of every individual, regardless of the job they do.

"It’s a reminder that first and foremost our law enforcement officers are people and people first," said Damon Daniel, executive director of the crime-fighting group. "But I also think it’s a bit of a stretch to have an occupation be considered part of a hate crime."

The bill would expand the hate crime definition to cover all first responders, including firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

Last year, criminals shot more than 60 police officers in Missouri. That's why the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police supports designating acts that target first responders as hate crimes.

The Kansas City lodge of the FOP has not yet responded to FOX 4's request for comment on the proposal.

Lawmakers say some form of this legislation is expected to become law. There's broad support in Jefferson City for aggressively prosecuting any attack on public safety.

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