FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As loved ones prepare to lay to rest two Florida police officers killed in the line of duty, a lawmaker is pushing for new protections for those in uniform across our state.
This bill, if passed, would increase the penalties for anyone who kills a police officer.
Senator Rene Garcia from Hialeah is the bill’s sponsor. If passed, killing a police officer would become a hate crime. Charges would go from a first degree misdemeanor to third degree felony.
Under Florida law, a hate crime is any crime committed by one person against another person or their property based on their personal characteristics.
Here's a list of different characteristics included under hate crimes:
· Gender/gender identity
· Ethnicity/ancestry/national origin
· Sexual orientation
· Advanced age
· Mental/physical disability
· Homeless status
If the bill passes, expect to see law enforcement officers and emergency service employees included on this list.