NEW ORLEANS, LA - The thin blue line. It`s a term for law enforcement and it`s an emblem representing the only thing standing between the good guys and bad guys. Cops protecting the community.
In Louisiana, crossing that blue line with violence is about to be a hate crime. And hate crime convictions carry stiffer punishments. The statutes protect a different class of victims. Those who are targeted because of their identity such as race, religion, sexuality and disability.
The Blue Lives Matter bill is about to become the law in Louisiana. It will also cover firefighters and emergency personnel. The governor is expected to sign it this week, making Louisiana the first state to have a law like this.
Supporters say it`s needed in the wake of high-profile cop killings, like the brutal murder of Texas sheriff`s deputy Darren Goforth.
Opponents say a law like this violates the first amendment by punishing what people say, think and believe, not just their criminal acts.
NewsFix took to the streets of Houston to get our viewers’ opinions. Marie says, "If you're targeting them, it should be a hate crime. It could be a hate crime for your job."
Betty believes, "It is a crime to kill those people. But I don't consider that a hate crime."
Thomas agrees. “No. To kill a cop is not a hate crime."
"I know policemen get a bad rap, a bad reputation,” adds Marie. “But as soon as you need one, you call them."
Lawyers fear it will be hard to prove an officer is killed because of the job or because they're in the line of duty. No question, first responders put their lives on the line every day, but this law may not be so black and white.