The Fraternal Order of Police has asked the Department of Justice to “immediately” do something which should seem obvious: to investigate the murder of five Dallas police officers as a hate crime.
“The U.S. Department of Justice is always quick to insert itself into local investigations,” FOP President Chuck Canterbury said Friday, according to Fox News. “Today we expect action just as swift. We want a federal investigation into those who were motivated by their hatred of police to commit mass murder in Dallas.”
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said at a Friday news conference that the shooter, a black 25-year-old Army veteran who was angry about two recent police-involved shootings, “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”
Fox News reported that “the Justice Department’s definition of a hate crime is limited to bigotry, violence or intimidation based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability.”
Police officers” is not a part of the list, although the FOB has been campaigning for its inclusion.
“If there has ever been an assassination of police officers that fits the current hate crime legislation, Dallas is it,” Canterbury told National Public Radio on Friday. “Though the main offender is dead, the hate crime investigation will show to the Justice Department and to the country that this was a hate-based crime.”
Canterbury added that the Dallas shooting meets every definition of a hate crime — except for the fact that law enforcement officers are not among the protected groups.
“A hate crime is simply a crime that is committed based on the bias of the offender,” Canterbury also told NPR. “In the Dallas case, it’s obvious that it fits within the umbrella because the individual has made statements to police that he wanted to kill white policemen. … That’s why we’ve asked for a change in the federal hate crime law.”
Although the Justice Department has yet to respond, the issue was posed to Department of Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson on Sunday’s “Face the Nation.”
Host John Dickerson said, “Dallas was by any definition terrorism and a hate crime, wasn’t it?”
What seemed obvious to Dickerson wasn’t necessarily so to Johnson.
“Well, there’s still an investigation being conducted by the Dallas police department and the FBI supported by many resources from the local government and the federal government,” Johnson responded. “So it’s still relatively early.”
In this interview, former CIA and DHS staffer Chad Sweet discusses the Dallas attack as a new form of “open space” terrorism.
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