Political protests are not hate crimes
Last week, Arkansas woke up to stories of North Little Rock and Little Rock police vehicles having been burned, and memorials statues to fallen officers had been vandalized with pro-BLM designs. As a result, the Little Rock Chief of Police Keith Humphrey has stated that the LRPD will investigate this crime as a hate crime. While we discourages vandalism of any kind, the Green Party of Pulaski County rejects the label of “hate crime” for three reasons.
The first reason is that the definition of hate crime does not include a work profession. The police cannot be the victim of a hate crime because the police are not “a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity,” which is from the FBI definition of a hate crime and the local ordinance Chief Humphrey cites.
Green Party of Pulaski County
For Immediate Release:
September 9, 2020
The second reason is that by labeling the vandalism a “hate crime,” Chief Humphrey is making the motives of Black Lives Matter implicitly compariable to other hate groups such as the Proud Boys or the KKK. Black Lives Matters has never shown their frustration with the police to be based on “just because they’re police.” Black Lives Matter demands justice for the murders and other crimes that our police system has committed against racial minorities, and then covered up because of the blue line. The frustrations of the Black Lives Matter movement only grows as their demands for a system that treats our citizens fairly, especially African Americans, is continually met with silence, tear gas, or bullets.
Which leads us to our third reason, this false label could continue escalating the civil unrest. The destruction of property is not something that the Green Party of Pulaski County condones, but this destruction is not comparible to the terrorizing and harrassment that Black Lives go through. The crimes against the Black Lives Movment have largly gone unnoticed not just in our city, but in the nation as a whole. By then turning and labeling this vandalism as a hate crime, Chief Humphrey is signalling that Black Lives will continue to be held to a double standard against police actions, and that likely further escalates the tensions between the Civil Rights Activists and the police.
Our police chief should respond to this vandalism with introspection and reaching out to the public leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement to talk, not seeding a narrative that the protestors are motivated by the same hatred as others that commit hate crimes. They are not, and to do so only prolong our broken justice system.