A bill to crack down on law enforcement killers quickly became a debate over race in the state House of Representatives.
The bill, known as the Blue Lives Matter Act of 2017, would mean mandatory life in prison or the death penalty for someone who kills a law officer.
“When a sniper sat in Dallas and was picking off police officers, I said, 'not in Oklahoma,'” Rep. Casey Murdock, R-District 61, said.
Murdock said when he authored the bill, he expected some blow back, and he got it.
“I was curious when you put in your bill 'blue lives matter.' What do you think 'black lives matter,' what do you think 'black lives matter' means?” asked Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-District 73.
“Everyone who puts on a uniform who basically puts a target on them. I’m not distinguishing between color,” Murdock said.
“We are sending a message with this legislation that a police officer’s life, (a) law enforcement officer's life matters more than other lives,” Rep. Emily Virgin, D-District 44, said.
Goodwin asked Murdock why he isn’t pushing for the same penalties for police officers who wrongly kill citizens.
“On three different occasions, I’ve had an officer point a gun in my face and I’d done nothing wrong,” Goodwin said. “It wasn’t that I wasn’t obeying. It wasn’t that I was some criminal on the loose. What it was is I was a black woman in America just trying to drive home.”
“I personally can’t believe that anybody on this floor, anybody up here would defend cop killers,” Rep. Sean Roberts, R-District 36, told colleagues.
“We’re all created equal. Just I think what you’re telling me with this bill is some folks are more equal,” Goodwin said as she ended her argument against the bill.
The bill passed 73 to 21 and now heads to the state Senate.