Police in New Orleans charged a man with a hate crime under a new provision in the state’s hate crime law that includes police officers as a protected class.
According to a report at Nola.com, this is believed to be the first time an individual has been charged under Louisiana’s “blue lives matter” law. Police say they arrested Raul Delatoba on Monday after he damaged a window at a hotel in the French Quarter. During the arrest, Delatoba allegedly screamed racist and sexist slurs at police officers, calling the female officer a ”dumb a— c—“ and another officer a “dumb a— n——.”
At the instruction of the police sergeant, Delatoba was charged not only with simple criminal damage to property and disturbing the peace, but also a felony hate crime offense.
A spokesman for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office said the office will review the charges and interview witnesses before making a final decision on charges in the case.
“Based up on that review, the office will make a determination whether or not to initiate formal charges, and which charges to initiate,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Allison Padilla-Goodman, the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the newspaper that her group does not feel hate crime charges are warranted based on the circumstances surrounding this case.
“While it’s horrible that the law enforcement officers had to encounter this behavior and hear these epithets, it’s not illegal,” Padilla-Goodman said.
She further explained that while the ADL opposes the addition of police officers to hate crime legislation in general, the new Louisiana law is inappropriate in this case because the alleged hate crime (against the police) does not appear to connect to the alleged underlying crime (breaking the window).
In other words, it does appear to the ADL that Delatoba selected to attack the hotel window because of its connection to law enforcement.
The statute provides:
It shall be unlawful for any person to select the victim of the following offenses against person and property … because of actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer….
The crime of “simple criminal damage to property” is one of the underlying offenses listed under the statute.