Attacking a police officer will become a hate crime if new bill passes

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DALLAS, Texas - Just 24 hours after a San Antonio police detective was ambushed and murdered while sitting inside his vehicle, a Texas lawmaker has presented new legislation aimed at making police attacks a hate crime.

Det. Benjamin Marconi, a 20-year veteran of the force and father of two, was shot in the head as he wrote a traffic citation for another driver.

The gunman, 31-year-old Otis McKane, was later arrested and apologized as he was being transported to jail for "lashing out."

"I've been through several custody battles, and I was upset at the situation I was in and I lashed out at somebody who didn't deserve it," McKane said.

Det. Marconi is one of many officers targeted across the nation in recent months, such as the five officers gunned down in downtown Dallas in July.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 58 law enforcement officers have lost their lives to gunfire nationwide this year, which the site states is an increase of more than 70 percent over years past.

HB 429 would label those attacks as hate crimes and would increase the punishment for attacking all first responders, including officers, firefighters, or paramedics.

The bill would also grant a protective order to the victim or their family during the trial phase of the suspected gunman.

"Tired of all talk and no action," State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, filed the bill with the Texas House of Representatives Monday.

"We're going to ask that it become an emergency legislative item for the governor so that as soon as we get to Austin in January, we pass it right away, make it law right away," Villalba told WFAA. "Texas will arm our prosecutors, D.A.s, and judges with every tool they need to punish to the fullest extent possible those who harm our first responders."

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