The Corner

Politics & Policy

Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Reduce Penalty for Battering Police Officer

How anti-law enforcement are Democrats becoming? This hostile. A bill passed the Virginia Senate along a party line vote to reduce penalties for assaulting cops, prison guards, and other law-enforcement officials.

If one commits an assault and battery because of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, and the other usual categories, it is deemed a felony requiring a minimum sentence of six months in jail.

The mandatory minimum now applies to attacks against cops, firefighters, judges, and other law enforcement too, and one could also be jailed for assaulting them even if it did not result in an actual touching. But for these public servants, the bill would eliminate both the assault provision and the mandatory minimum. From SB 5032:

In addition, if any person commits an assault or an assault and battery resulting in a visible bodily injury against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a judge, a magistrate, a law-enforcement officer as defined in subsection F, a correctional officer as defined in § 53.1-1, a person directly involved in the care, treatment, or supervision of inmates in the custody of the Department of Corrections or an employee of a local or regional correctional facility directly involved in the care, treatment, or supervision of inmates in the custody of the facility, a person directly involved in the care, treatment, or supervision of persons in the custody of or under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice, an employee or other individual who provides control, care, or treatment of sexually violent predators committed to the custody of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, a firefighter as defined in § 65.2-102, or a volunteer firefighter or any emergency medical services personnel member who is employed by or is a volunteer of an emergency medical services agency or as a member of a bona fide volunteer fire department or volunteer emergency medical services agency, regardless of whether a resolution has been adopted by the governing body of a political subdivision recognizing such firefighters or emergency medical services personnel as employees, engaged in the performance of his public duties anywhere in the Commonwealth, such person is guilty of a Class 6 felony, and, upon conviction, the sentence of such person shall include a mandatory minimum term of confinement of six months.

So, an assault and battery on a gay man because of his sexual orientation will bring mandatory imprisonment. But if the same person is attacked because he is a cop, it won’t.

The message communicated in this legislation could not be more clear.

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