U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said she cosponsored two bills this week to support law enforcement officers and other first responders. The bills follow an increase in violence against police which coincides with protests and riots.
“Tennesseans hold our law enforcement officials in the highest regard, and expect us to provide support for them when needed,” Blackburn said. “It’s unfortunate that the state of our public discourse has led us to this point.”
She tweeted, “The radical left’s mob has no respect for the Constitution. They are burning our churches and destroying our cities.”
The radical left’s mob has no respect for the Constitution.
They are burning our churches and destroying our cities.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) September 17, 2020
According to the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Program, a total of 37 law enforcement officers have been killed in the U.S. in 2020. This represents an increase of more than 20 percent from a year ago. Of those, eight were ambushed in premeditated attacks, two were victims of an unprovoked attack and the other 27 were killed in the line of duty.
Blackburn pointed to the attack Sunday on two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies while they were in their patrol car.
Blackburn said, “This year, there have been over 20 percent more law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty than this time in 2019. This devastating fact can be directly accredited to the chaos that has been emboldened by elected officials who have refused to maintain law and order in their cities.”
On Thursday, Blackburn and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Protect and Serve Act to create federal penalties for people who deliberately target law enforcement officers with violence. The act is available here.
Under the act, attacks would be a federal crime subject to a prison sentence of up to 10 years. An offender could get life in prison if the crime causes death or if it includes kidnapping, attempted kidnapping or attempted murder.
On Wednesday, Blackburn and U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act. This would make it a federal offense to obstruct any ambulance, fire department vehicle, law enforcement vehicle or emergency personnel from responding to an emergency.
Penalties would include imprisonment of one to five years, a fine or both.
Both the Protect and Serve Act and the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act are endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations, Tillis said.
– – –
Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes. The Associated Press contributed to this report.