Skip to main content


House Democrats Line Up to Vote in Masses for Totally Necessary "Blue Lives Matter" Bill

House Democrats Line Up to Vote in Masses for Totally Necessary 'Blue Lives Matter' Bill

Photo: AP

WASHINGTON (ANN) With little fanfare, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill on Wednesday to create a new penalty for assaulting law enforcement officials. If it becomes law, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018 would make it a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for “knowingly caus[ing] serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer, or attempts to do so.”

 Similar “Blue Lives Matter” bills have been making their way through state legislatures across the country over the past two years as citizens have continued to rise up and demand an end to police assault. In 2016, Louisiana became the first state in the country to make police officers a class of citizen protected under hate crime law. (The bill was signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat.)

What is disturbing is, civil rights groups have denounced the Protect and Serve Act. In a Tuesday letter to members of Congress, more than two dozen groups, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, called the bill “superfluous,” and said it would negatively impact law enforcement’s relationships with the communities they are sworn to protect. 


Surprisingly, the majority of House Democrats stepped up, including some of the chambers’ more progressive members, lined up to support the bill (a total of 162 Democratic members backed the bill, while just 24 voted against the measure). Representative Keith Ellison, who represents Minnesota and has come to be affiliated with the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, voted for the bill, as did Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva, and Jan Schakowsky, of Illinois. You can read the full roll call of the vote here.

Voting in favor of this bill could be read as an effort by the Democrats to pre-empt more bad-faith attacks from Republicans ahead of this fall’s midterm elections. You can write the fear-mongering attack ads yourself: “DEMOCRATS VOTE TO SUPPORT COP KILLERS.” Still, the message this vote sends to Democrats’ constituents—and especially their black constituents—is that they are willing to put a thumb on the scale for the police.