Under siege by protesters and facing a spike in deadly ambush attacks, police officers are seeking extra federal hate-crime protections from those who they say want to do them harm, says the Christian Science Monitor. “Right now, it's a hate crime if you attack someone solely because of the color of their skin, but it ought to be a hate crime if you attack someone solely because of the color of their uniform as well,” said Jim Pasco of the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in a letter this week to Congress and President Obama.
The FOP proposal comes in response to protests over several high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police. It also comes on the heels of an increase in ambush killings of police officers, including the Dec. 20 murder of two New York officers by a man who espoused anti-police feelings on social media. About 1 in 5 non-accidental officer deaths since 2004 were ambush-related, and 2014 saw a sharp uptick in the number of ambush deaths. The last time Congress extended hate crime protections to a group was in 2009, when it added transgendered and homosexual Americans to those covered by such laws. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said a federal policing task force would consider the proposal.