Ariz. governor signs bill protecting off-duty police officers

The bill adds tougher sentences for assaults on off-duty law enforcement officers


Associated Press

PHOENIX — 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 the legislation "sends the clear message that Arizona stands firmly with its men and women in uniform."

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.

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