Blue Lives Matter arose in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. It advocates for police and other emergency service responders to be considered as a victim category for hate crimes.
Problems and Purpose
The aim of Blue Lives Matter is to have attacks against police and first responders treated as hate crimes, which requires expanding the legal definition of hate crime victims to include these workers. this is a departure from the existing definition of hate crime victims as historically oppressed groups .
Background History and Context
Blue Lives Matter was founded by officers in 2014 as a response to criticism of law enforcement following the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and as a counter to the growing Black Lives Matter movement. The founders sought to respond to what they perceived as unjustified criticism of the police in the media .
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The Blue Lives Matter movement was founded by a group of current and retired police officers, and it is supported by some police departments as well as friends and families of law enforcement and others. The New York Blue Lives Matter website lists a number of private companies as sponsors as well as police departments.
In 2020, the Blue Lives Matter website reformulated into ‘The Police Tribune’ and presents itself as a new organization .
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Participants in Blue Lives Matter demonstration appear to be primarily retired law enforcement, their friends, family and members of the public wishing to show support . Commentary has noted that participants are primarily White .
Methods and Tools Used
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
Blue Lives Matter have organized a number of rallies and protests since their inception. During demonstrations, signs and chants have included ‘Back the Blue’, ‘All Lives Matter’ and displaying of the ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag which symbolizes support for law enforcement but has also been associated with white supremacist symbolism.
Blue Lives Matter demonstrations are often met with counter-protests from Black Lives Matter activists and associated groups. Interactions between the two have ranged from physical confrontation and resulting arrests to relatively peaceful with some conversation across the divide.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
In 2016, Louisiana became the first state to change the law around hate crimes to include police and first responders as a protected group. The law was known as the ‘Blue Lives Matter’ bill and discussions around it centered on the murder of the New York officers in 2014 and a perceived ‘war on cops’ .
Analysis and Lessons Learned
A qualitative analysis of the Blue Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter Facebook pages has suggested that the discursive rifts between the two reflect the cleavage in American discourse and society more broadly:
Blue Matters users established themselves as righteous disciplinarians who could look down on the so-called “thugs” of Black Lives Matter. Posters on the Black Lives page presented an identity as law-abiding citizens rationally pursuing equality .
Another article conceptualizes Blue Lives Matter as an expression of ‘cop fragility’, analogous to the notion of white fragility, where law enforcement are resistant to having conversation about police brutality and possible reform, responding defensively and unable to accept the structural and institutionalized nature of racism .
 Mason, G. (2020). Blue Lives Matter and Hate Crime Law. Race and Justice, Online First 16 June. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/2153368720933665 (Accessed 18 September 2020)
 Berg, C. (2020) Introducing the Police Tribune. Blue Lives Matter.blue, 10 June. Available at: https://bluelivesmatter.blue/introducing-the-police-tribune/ (Accessed 18 September 2020).
 Kim, J. and Wilson, M. (2020) ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and ‘Defund the Police’ Clash in the Streets. New York Times, 22 July. Available at:
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/22/nyregion/ny-back-the-blue-lives-matter-rallies.html (Accessed 18 September 2020)
 Offenhartz, J. (2020) Inside The Seething White Heart Of The Blue Lives Matter Movement. Gothamist.com, 19 August. Available at:
https://gothamist.com/news/inside-seething-white-heart-blue-lives-matter-movement (Accessed 18 September 2020)
 Kaste, M. (2016). How The Perceived 'War On Cops' Plays Into Politics And Policing. NPR.org, 29 December. Available at:
https://www.npr.org/2016/12/29/507249260/how-the-perceived-war-on-cops-plays-into-politics-and-policing (Accessed 18 September 2020)
 Bock, M.A. (2017). Faith and reason: An analysis of the homologies of Black and Blue Lives Facebook pages. New Media and Society. 20(9), pp. 3097-3118. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817740822 (Accessed 18 September 2020)
 Cooper, F.R. (2020). Cop Fragility and Blue Lives Matter. Illinois Law Review. 2020(2), pp. 621-662. Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3566553 (Accessed 18 September 2020)