PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation adding tougher sentences for assaults on off-duty law enforcement officers.
Ducey signed the legislation Monday after heated debates arose over it in the Legislature. The governor said in a written statement:
“Our police officers put their lives on the line every day to defend our communities and keep our streets safe. Their job is dangerous enough already, and we have zero tolerance for anyone who would target officers simply for doing their jobs. This legislation sends the clear message that Arizona stands firmly by its men and women in uniform, and I am proud to sign it.”
The "Blue Lives Matter" law drew criticism from Democratic lawmakers who called it an affront to the "Black Lives Matter" movement that protests police killings of black people and racial profiling. Republican backers say even off-duty officers deserve higher protections.
Prosecutors would have to show the assault was motivated by the officer's employment. Assaulting an on-duty officer or an off-duty officer acting in a law enforcement role already draws a harsher sentence.
Senate Bill 1366 Fact Sheet:
peace officer; victim; aggravating factor
The Associated Press contributed to this report.