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CHICAGO — Chicago alderman Ed Burke wants the justice system to treat attacks against police officers and firefighters like “hate crimes.”

Burke proposed his “Blue Lives Matter” ordinance last month. It would give harsher penalties and fines for offenses committed against current or past police officers, firefighters, and emergency responders.

But activists say that’s an attack on First Amendment rights. They also say it’s a distraction from the real problem of abusive police officers.

The City of Chicago is in the midst of reforming its police accountability system, including eliminating the Independent Police Review Authority. Reforms have been delayed to allow more time for public input.