Virginia Democrats prepare to lighten penalty for assaulting cops
Defund the police, if not abolish departments altogether, is a message playing well in Democrat-run, riot-plagued cities from coast to coast.
But the Virginia Senate, also led by Democrats, is upping the ante.
No longer do citizens there have to fear if police officers withdraw from the community after being defunded. It’s the police, as well as other first-responders, who actually have to fear escalating violence if a proposed Senate bill is enacted.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Mount Vernon, would ditch the mandatory six-month minimum jail sentence for those convicted of assaulting cops. Besides police, the bill would also apply to violence against judges, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel.
Surovell’s bill also empowers a judge or jury to find the defendant not guilty or convict as a misdemeanor if the victim is not injured.
That version of the proposal was actually tougher than the original bill that Surovell filed. Initially, Surovell wanted to strike from the books the crime of assault, which involves threatening someone to put them in fear without having to actually touch him or her, and define guilt only if the assailant was convicted of assault and battery and causing visible bodily harm.
The bill passed the Senate 21-15 on Wednesday.
One might think that states, even Democratic ones, would want to toughen penalties for violence against authorities as existing laws are proving insufficient to stop beatings on cops — who, in some major cities, are retiring in droves because of the apparent support from City Hall for the rioters.
Conservatives quickly, and rightly, denounced Surovell’s bill.
“What in the world are we doing?” said Sen. John Cosgrove Jr., R-Chesapeake. “Have you seen the attacks on police officers?”
“This is unhinged,” tweeted GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. “Liberal politicians are endangering police officers and fueling the riots in our streets.”
“I can be quiet no longer! Shame on the Virginia Senate for passing a bill allowing assaulting a police officer to be a misdemeanor. If society does not protect her protectors, who will protect society? This national madness is taking our country to the precipice,” tweeted Martin County, Florida, Sheriff William Snyder.
The bill will now be considered by the Virginia House, where Democrats hold a 55-45 majority. If approved, it will go to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.
PHOTO: Getty Images
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