PANGUITCH, UT – A 19-year-old woman was charged with a hate crime after allegedly “stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign” at a gas station in Panguitch and throwing it in the trash, all in front of an officer who had just given her friend a speeding ticket.
— NOOKSLIST – Legal Search (@nookslist) July 12, 2021
According to the affidavit of probable cause, a Garfield County police officer was conducting a traffic stop for speeding at a gas station when the officer saw a woman damaging the sign. The criminal complaint gave the officer’s account:
“I observed one of the friends … stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign next to where the traffic stop was conducted, crumble it up in a destructive manner and throw it into a trash can all while smirking in an intimidating manner towards me.”
When the officer approached the woman, he asked her where she got the sign and she claimed it was her mother’s. According to the criminal complaint, the officer informed the woman that the sign was one created by the local Sheriff’s Office, that he believed she “had acquired it in our community.”
Utah Woman Charged with Hate Crime for Stomping on “Back The Blue” Sign https://t.co/pbsUbQbS9m
— D.P. Patterson (@D_P_Patterson) July 12, 2021
After reading the woman her Miranda Rights, the officer said she began giving “inconsistent stories” about where the sign came from. She eventually settled with the claim she found it on the ground.
The officer wrote in his affidavit:
“Due to (the woman) destroying property that did not belong to her in a manner to attempt to intimidate law enforcement, I placed her under arrest.
“Due to the demeanor displayed by (the woman) in attempts to intimidate law enforcement while destroying a pro-law enforcement sign, the allegations are being treated as a hate crime enhanced allegation.”
A 19-year-old woman was charged with a hate crime after allegedly “stomping on a ‘Back the Blue’ sign” at a gas station in Panguitch, Utah. https://t.co/6cVoIhqsLT
— Saint Stinky (@SaintStinky) July 12, 2021
The hate crime statute for civil rights violations states that a person who commits any primary offense, such as misdemeanor property destruction, with the intent to “intimidate or terrorize another person or with reason to believe that his action would intimidate or terrorize that person” is subject to a class B misdemeanor primary offense becoming a class A misdemeanor.
The law defines “intimidate or terrorize” as “an act which causes the person to fear for his physical safety or damages the property of that person or another.”
According to the law, the act “must be accompanied with the intent to cause or has the effect of causing a person to reasonably fear to freely exercise or enjoy any right secured by the Constitution or laws of the state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”
The woman faces up to a year in prison or a fine of up to $2,500.
Given that a woman in Utah was recently charged with a hate crime for crumpling a "Back the Blue" sign, you'd probably get the book thrown at you.https://t.co/5TJpJFk5dN
— Silberescher (@mirrorlogician) July 11, 2021
The “Blue Line” image and “Back the Blue” messaging have been attacked by Left-wing radicals and politicians as racist and inflammatory.
In truth, the symbol of the blue line stands for the men and women in law enforcement who are the barrier between the citizens and evil. The Thin Blue Line flag stands in memory of those officers who have sacrificed their lives in the service of others.
“Back the Blue” is a phrase used by citizens to show support for law enforcement officers in their communities and across the nation.
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Iowa Gov signs ‘Back the Blue’ bill raisings protections for cops, penalties for protest-related offenses
June 22, 2021
DES MOINES, IA – Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed “Back the Blue” bill Thursday that raises penalties for unlawful protesters and raising qualified immunity for Iowa police officers.
The “Back the Blue” legislation, also titled SF 342, makes rioting a felony offense, increases penalties on a range of other destructive behaviors, establishes qualified immunity, and increases due process protections for law enforcement.
— Iowa Young Republicans 🇺🇸 🐘 (@YoungIowaGOP) June 18, 2021
The new law also holds local governments accountable that prevent local law enforcement from doing their jobs. In a press release issued by the Governor’s office, Gov. Reynolds said:
“I made it clear in my Condition of the State Address that Iowa’s law enforcement will always have my respect, and I will always have their back.
“Today’s bill embodies that commitment in a historic way. The public peace is too important, and the safety of our officers too precious, to tolerate destructive behavior.”
The bill also bans discrimination in the enforcement of the law and establishes a process for citizens who believe their rights have been violated to file a complaint with the state Attorney General.
Gov. Reynolds said:
“Today’s bill illustrates an important truth: there is no contradiction whatsoever between steadfast support for honorable and selfless law enforcement officers – the vast majority – and a commitment to improving law enforcement.”
NEW LAW: Under Iowa's new law, rioting will become a felony instead of a misdemeanor.https://t.co/6dameMfkJp
— KHQA News (@KHQA) June 17, 2021
Governor Reynolds also signed HF 708 , a separate bill creating a law enforcement equipment fund in the Department of Public Safety. It was seeded with $5 million in this year’s budget.
Critics of the new law claim the more severe sentencing for violators will interfere with free speech and disproportionately impact black residents.
At a news conference Thursday morning, Democratic members of the Iowa Legislative Black Caucus said Reynolds failed to reach out to them when crafting the legislation. They also said she abandoned her push for a ban on racial profiling by law enforcement.
JOHNSTON — Flanked by a roomful of uniformed law officers from around Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday signed a “back the blue” bill that boosts support and legal protections for law enforcement as well as increases punishments for people… https://t.co/MZNwzFI33h
— Daily Nonpareil (@nonpareilonline) June 17, 2021
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn said:
“Instead of furthering an important discussion about anti-racial profiling measures and modernizing our public safety departments, Gov. Reynolds took a giant step backwards.”
Disregarding the Democratic criticism, Gov. Reynolds said that police can be supported while improving policing:
“There’s no contradiction between steadfast support for honorable and selfless police officers — the vast majority — and a commitment to improving policing.
POLICE NEWS: DES MOINES, IA: GOVERNOR SIGNS BACK THE BLUE LAW: 👏👏https://t.co/lNtn2cTLB9
— DIANE (@POLICEINFLA) June 18, 2021
Gov. Reynolds said at a bill signing ceremony at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in Johnston that police need to know they are supported:
“Like so many Iowans, I was raised to be grateful to the heroes who patrol our streets at great personal risk and sacrifice.
“And tragically, this fundamental and wholesome part of America’s culture is now under vicious attack.”
The new law comes a year after Gov. Reynolds signed the More Perfect Union Act, a law that banned most chokeholds and addressed police officer misconduct. The law passed the Iowa Legislature unanimously in a single day.
To the critics who claimed the law disproportionately impacted the black community, Gov. Reynolds responded:
“Don’t break the law and it won’t apply to you.”
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