First Use of LA’s ‘Blue Lives Matter’ Law Was Mistaken

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Perhaps the first use of Louisiana’s new “Blue Lives Matter” law turned into an epic misfire after the New Orleans Police Department acknowledged yesterday that officers wrongly applied it to the case of a intoxicated homeless man who allegedly smashed a window at a French Quarter hotel and then shouted racial and sexual slurs at cops, reports the New Orleans Advocate. Raul Delatoba, 34, was booked on a felony hate crime count Monday after police said he broke a window at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, then called a female desk officer a “c—” and a black officer a “n—–.”

Delatoba never put hands on any of his arresting officers, so it was initially unclear why the “Blue Lives Matter” law — which extended Louisiana’s pre-existing hate crimes law to apply to police and firefighters but does not criminalize speech by itself — was used against him. Hate-crimes laws may be invoked only when a more serious criminal offense accompanies verbal slurs. New Orleans police spokesman Tyler Gamble believes Delatoba’s arrest was the first time the law has been used by the local department. But he also said the law’s first use in New Orleans was a mistake. “After reviewing the initial facts of the case, it is clear that the responding officer incorrectly applied the law relative to a hate crime in this incident,” Gamble said. New Orleans Advocate

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