Efforts to weed out police officers with ties to violent extremist groups are being met with resistance by police departments across the United States, the New York Times reports.
According to the Times, lawmakers in California, Oregon, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C. have been trying to give police departments greater authority to fire officers whom they find to be supportive of organizations such as the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, but so far have found departments resistant to their ideas.
The police departments and unions say that they are worried about limiting officers' freedom of speech and association, as they fear an overly expansive definition of being tied to "hate groups" would ensnare officers who belong to anti-abortion organizations and not just officers who support the Ku Klux Klan.
"Legislators in California negotiated compromise language for the bill with the main police unions in Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco, which then endorsed the change," the Times reports. "The settled-upon language says, 'No member of a hate group should be in law enforcement and if you are a member of one of these groups don't apply, you have no place in our profession.' Still, some police officers and unions in California reject the modified legislation because of issues of civil rights and freedom of speech."