Arizona lawmakers on Tuesday engaged in a heated debate over whether they should approve a bill that would specify aggravated assault against off-duty police officers is a crime equal to assaulting an on-duty officer, reports the Associated Press.

Current law requires lengthier sentences for aggravated assault against on-duty officers. The measure by sponsor Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, would equally apply enhanced sentences for aggravated assault against officers who are off-duty.

On one side of the debate were lawmakers urging the protection of police officers at all times. On the other were legislators calling the measure unnecessary and a mockery of what has been happening across the country with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The bill is labeled the “Blue Lives Matter Law.” Smith says it’s necessary because directly assaulting an officer should not be tolerated on any level.


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