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Police already protected by laws, asserts ADL Regional Director Scott L. Levin

  • August 5, 2016

Responding to a recent letter to the editor of the Intermountain Jewish News that disparaged the Anti-Defamation League for failing to support an amendment of hate crimes laws to include police officers, ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott L. Levin asserts that members of law enforcement are already protected by laws in every state that enhance penalties for crimes committed against them.

Levin’s letter appears below.



Police already protected by laws


Last week, a letter to the editor asserted a fundamental misunderstanding of ADL’s commitment to ensuring that those who target police face serious legal consequences. (“What? ADL oppose a hate crime law?” July 29)

ADL has long been recognized as one of law enforcement’s most significant and trusted partners. ADL trains thousands of law enforcement professionals each year from across the country on extremism and hate crimes. ADL also provides law enforcement with a vast number of resources designed to increase their capabilities in protecting our communities and to ensure their own safety. We greatly value our relationships with those sworn to serve and protect us, and we are deeply proud to partner with them.

Our training on hate crime laws encompasses the reasons ADL pioneered these laws 35 years ago, how they work, how to identify hate crimes, and why hate crime laws are important. When it comes to police and hate crime laws, ADL has a unique perspective to offer.

ADL supports effective laws for the protection of law enforcement. It is important to note that enhanced sentences for crimes against police are already mandated by existing laws in Colorado and every other state. As a result, ADL does not support adding police to hate crime laws because police deserve — and already have — statutes specifically designed to protect them. And it is easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions under existing statutes than it is under hate crime laws.

Hate crimes target individuals because of immutable characteristics: race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, disability or gender identity. They are not designed to protect members of a particular vocation or profession. Perpetrators of hate crimes do so in order to intimidate not only the victim, but also members of the victim’s community, leaving them feeling fearful, isolated, vulnerable and unprotected by the law. Such crimes are frequently downplayed and underreported. By contrast, there is no evidence anywhere in the country that prosecutors are failing to vigorously investigate and prosecute crimes against police.

Providing prosecutors with effective tools to prosecute crimes targeting police officers has to be one of our society’s highest priorities — on that point there is no disagreement.


ADL Regional Director