A New Orleans man who allegedly hurled racial slurs at police officers during a drunken episode on Labor Day could become the first to face hate crime charges under the city’s new Blue Lives Matter Law.
Under the controversial state law, which was signed into effect back in May, the NOLA police officials are recommending that 28-year-old Raul Delatoba face felony hate crime charges after officers say he addressed one of them as a “dumb ass n****” and the other as a “dumb ass c***” during a confrontation in the French Quarter.
According to Think Progress, he also faces minor charges for destruction of property after allegedly smashing a nearby hotel window just before encountering the police officers. Although Delatoba did not physically harm the officer or anyone else, his actions apparently qualify as a hate crime on the basis that he verbally attacked the officers using language targeting their “race, sex, or occupation.”
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While provisions in the Louisiana statute do allow prosecutors to hand down stricter penalties for crimes if they were committed against first officers because of their occupation, it has yet to be confirmed that the state will uphold the officers’ recommendations to actually charge Delatoba with a hate crime. The law in itself is indeed an ironic one, given that little has been done on state or federal levels to jumpstart the much-needed nationwide police reform in the wake of continued cases of police brutality against African-Americans.