POLITICS

Fraternal Order Of Police Wants Attacks On Cops Treated As Hate Crimes

New York Police Department (NYPD) officers pay their respect as the procession of NYPD officer Wenjian Liu passes by in New Y
New York Police Department (NYPD) officers pay their respect as the procession of NYPD officer Wenjian Liu passes by in New York's borough of Brooklyn on January 4, 2015. A sea of blue uniformed officers crowded around a Brooklyn funeral home to honor Wenjian Liu, 32, shot in the head with partner Rafael Ramos, 40, on December 20, 2014 as the pair sat in their patrol car. The brutal double-slaying at the hands of a black gunman claiming to be avenging the deaths of African-Americans during confrontations with police shocked the nation's largest city. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- The head of the Fraternal Order of Police said Monday that Congress should expand the federal hate crimes statutes to cover assaults directed at law enforcement officers.

Federal hate crimes law currently applies to attacks that are motivated by someone's "actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability." Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, would like to see police officers protected as well.

"Congress saw a need to expand the law to protect a group of our fellow citizens who we suspected were being targeted as victims of violence," Canterbury said in a statement. "In the last few years, ambush attacks aimed to kill or injure law enforcement officers have risen dramatically. Nineteen percent of the fatalities by firearm suffered by law enforcement in 2014 were ambush attacks."

"Enough is enough!" he said. "It's time for Congress to do something to protect the men and women who protect us."

There were 62 deaths of law enforcement officers in felonious incidents last year, according to preliminary numbers from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That figure was up from 44 such deaths in 2013, the same year that the number of firearms-related deaths of officers dropped to the lowest number since 1887, according to an earlier report from the memorial fund. Of those 62 deaths in 2014, 15 of them occurred in ambushes, including the attack that killed two New York City police officers last month. Fifteen officers were likewise killed in ambushes in 2012, but just five died that way in 2013.

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