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Attacks on Police Officers Would Be Deemed Hate Crimes Under Proposed California Law

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Retired Army Sgt. Chandler Davis pays his respects at a memorial in front of the Dallas police headquarters. (Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

Alarmed by a wave of shootings targeting police officers, state Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear) has introduced a bill that would make an attack on law enforcement a hate crime in California, allowing stiffer penalties for those convicted.

Obernolte’s bill comes after a series of shootings that have left 62 law enforcement officers dead so far this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That is up from 38 officers shot to death in the line of duty by this time last year.

Just in July, five police officers were shot and killed by a gunman in Dallas, and three more died in a rampage in Baton Rouge. The shootings occurred at a time of high tension between law enforcement and some communities over police killings of unarmed people of color.

“Our police officers put their lives on the line every day and it’s deeply disturbing when they are intentionally targeted because of their chosen profession,” Obernolte said Tuesday in a statement. “This law will send a message to criminals targeting law enforcement officers that their reprehensible behavior will not be tolerated.”

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