New York State Assemblyman Ronald Castorina (R-S.I.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would make assaulting a police officer a hate crime. The act, dubbed the "Blue Lives Matter" bill, would allow for heavier sentences than the law currently allows for violence against police.
Hate crimes are acts of violence against people based on race, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and national origin.
“It’s based on this climate in this country right now where police officers are being abused and they’re being disrespected, and we’re seeing they have a target on their back, in Louisiana and in Dallas,” Castorina said, the Observer reported. “You can envision this happening at a protest, where somebody might throw a rock or a bottle or a punch.”
Police officers were recently killed during Black Lives Matter protests in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley traveled from Baltimore to Brooklyn to "kill white people" as revenge for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Brinsley shot and killed two NYPD officers in July.
Despite 2015 being one of the safest years for police officers, according to a preliminary report from the FBI, Castorina said his office noticed an uptick in violence against police officers.
“I think it’s a common-sense piece of legislation that everybody can congeal around and support,” Castorina said.
Louisiana passed a similar law in May, ABC5 Seattle reported.
Castorina was joined at a press conference on Thursday by Minority Whip of the New York City Council Joe Borelli (R-S.I.). Borelli read Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson's Facebook post that went viral after the death of Alton Sterling.