US

Proposed Texas law would make targeting police officers a hate crime

Members of an honor guard salute as the flag is lifted off of the coffin holding slain Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa during a ceremony at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery on July 16. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

A new bill proposed by Texas state lawmakers Monday would make it a hate crime to target police officers or first responders.

The legislation was filed just one day after a longtime San Antonio police officer was assassinated while he sat in his patrol car writing a ticket.

"We're going to ask that it become an emergency legislative item for the governor so that as soon as we get to Austin in January, we pass it right away, make it law right away," Republican state Rep. Jason Villalba told KHOU-TV.

"Texas will arm our prosecutors, D.A.s and judges with every tool they need to punish to the fullest extent possible those who harm our first responders," he explained.

If passed, the bill would become the first of its kind in the United States.

According to KHOU, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called for a bill similar to this in July after five Dallas police officers were murdered in the streets during a protest.

More from KHOU:

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, the Texas Municipal Police Association, and the Dallas Police Association helped craft Villalba’s bill.

If passed, HB 429 would increase the penalty for attacking a cop, firefighter or paramedic.

In 2016, 58 police officers nationwide have been murdered via gunfire in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Seven of the firearm murders have happened in Texas.

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