A bill proposed in California would ban or fire police officers from serving if they are affiliated with a hate group, but critics say it would also ban officers who have conservative or religious social views.
“I think everyone can agree that no one wants cops serving us who belong to violent hate groups, but this bill goes far beyond that. It actually goes after individual cops who simply have conservative social views on issues like marriage,” Pro-Family group director said.
Last month, California lawmaker Ash Kalra introduced Assembly Bill 655, also known as the California Law Enforcement Accountability Reform Act. The act would require background checks for police officers to ensure they are not part of hate group or participate in “hate speech.”
The bill defines hate speech as “advocating or supporting the denial of constitutional rights of, the genocide of, or violence towards, any group of persons based upon race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.”
Critics of the bill say the definition is too broad and could label religious or conservative people as part of a hate group.
“This is a blatantly unconstitutional violation of religious liberty and freedom of speech. It is also a tyrannical abuse of power from a politician seeking to ruin the lives of those he disagrees with,” he said.
Kalra, however, argues that people “have a constitutional right to have racist and bigoted views” but not “a constitutional right to be a police officer.”
The bill will be heard by the Assembly Public Safety Committee on April 6.