AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is joining a growing number of state lawmakers wanting to make attacks against police officers a hate crime.
Abbott said Monday he will ask the Texas Legislature to pass a bill next year that adds police officers to the list of protected classes under the state's hate crime law.
His announcement follows the recent fatal shootings of five officers in Dallas and three others in Louisiana.
Louisiana became the first state in May to extend hate crime protections to police.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts, Kentucky, Wisconsin and other states have floated similar proposals.
Abbott says Texas "will no longer tolerate disrespect for those who serve."
Abbott also wants to strengthen penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers even when the incident wouldn't qualify as a hate crime.
“While our state and the nation continue to mourn the heroes lost in Dallas, it is time for us to unite as Texans to say no more,” Abbott said.
“The men and women in uniform risk their lives every day to protect the public, and it is time we show them the State of Texas has their back. Texas will no longer tolerate disrespect for those who serve, and it must be made to clear to anyone targeting our law enforcement officials that their actions will be met with severe justice,” he said.