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Arizona House wants to protect off-duty police officers

Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 21:52:29-04

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona House has given initial approval to legislation that would specify aggravated assault against police officers off-duty is a crime after a heated debate on the House floor.

The proposal by sponsor Republican Sen. Steve Smith of Maricopa would mandate calling the act the Blue Lives Matter Law. Smith says the measure is necessary because directly assaulting an officer should not be tolerated on any level.

Senate Bill 1366 notes aggravated assault against a police officer includes "assaulting a peace officer that is not engaged in the execution of official duties."

Democratic Rep. Reginald Bolding of Laveen said the bill is unnecessary and is offensive to the Black Lives Matter movement across the country.

Legislators approved Smith's proposal on a voice vote. It awaits a formal House vote.