A statement from the New Orleans Police Department says a man was wrongfully charged with a hate crime under the Blue Lives Matter law that went into effect just over a month ago. Police say 28-year-old Raul Delatoba was being booked on unrelated charges, when he used sexist and racial slurs against the arresting officers.
Delatoba’s bond was set at $15,000- $10,000 for the hate crime, and $2,500 for each of the other charges, disturbing the peace and criminal damage to property. Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana, Marjorie Esman, is glad the NOPD realized they can't arrest someone for making offensive comments.
“Their job is to protect people’s rights, including the right to speak, and we are hoping and assuming that the District Attorney will see this for what it is and not press those charges,” Esman said.
Alexandria Representative Lance Harris authored the Blue Lives Matter Law. He says he pushed for the new law to give District Attorney’s another tool in their tool box and provide protection for first responders.
“It’s abundantly clear in the law what you have to violate to be charged with it, and then that would be up to the discretion of the DA to apply those charges,” Harris said.