Virginia Democrats Push to Reduce Charges for Assaulting Police Officers
Virginian Senate Democratic Caucus propose new anti-cop laws
Democrats in Virginia are pushing for anti-cop changes in the law that will reduce the charges for assaulting a police officer in the state.
Virginian Senate Democrats propose that the charge of assault on a police officer is reduced from a felony to a simple misdemeanor offense.
The proposal is one of 28 championed by the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus in response to recent calls to defund or abolish police departments.
To reform the state’s law enforcement systems, Dems want to scrap the current law that considers the assault of a police officer a Class 6 felony and carries a mandatory minimum term of six months in prison.
Currently, the Virginia code states:
If any person commits an assault or an assault and battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a judge, a magistrate, a law-enforcement officer … a correctional officer … 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 … 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.
The Virginia Senate Democrats issued a statement announcing the move:
“The deaths of [George] Floyd, [Ahmaud] Arbery and [Breonna] Taylor have awoken Americans and Virginians to long-standing problems in policing in America.
"After people are arrested, additional damage is done by a criminal justice system that has been streamlined to produce convictions and punishment instead of rehabilitation and justice.”
As the Fort Hunt Herald reported, the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus’s list of proposed reforms includes:
- Prohibit No-Knock Warrants
- Ban Sex With Individuals Arrested by Law Enforcement
- Prohibit Hiring of Officers Fired or Resigned During Use of Force Investigations
- Create a Decertification Procedure for Law Enforcement Officers*
- Ban chokeholds and strangleholds
- Require Attempts at De-escalation Prior to Use of Force
- Require Warnings Before Shots Fired
- Require Law Enforcement to Exhaust All Other Means Prior to Shooting
- Create Duty to Intervene by Fellow Law Enforcement Officers
- Prohibit Shooting at Moving Motor Vehicles
- Require Departments to Create a Use of Force Continuum
- Require Comprehensive Reporting by All Law Enforcement Agencies Including Use of Force Data
- Defelonize Assault on Law Enforcement Officer (Return to Misdemeanor Offense)
- Cancel HB599 Funding (Virginia supplemental funding for local police departments) After Local Police Have Disproportionate Use of Force Incidents in their Jurisdiction
- Create Local Authority for a Marcus Alert System – System to Report Acute Mental Health Crises
- Create Local Option for Citizen Review Board Empowered to Investigate, Fire and/or Discipline Officers
- Confirm Prosecutors’ Authority to Drop Charges*
- Enhance Courts’ Ability to Expunge Charges for Dismissed Charges, Substance Convictions and Pardoned Offenses*
- Prohibit Searches of Person or Vehicle Based on Odor of Marijuana Without Probable Cause for Other Offenses*
- Prohibit Stops for Equipment Violations Not Covered by State Vehicle Inspection
- Secondary Offense For Dangling Objects, Extinguished Tag Light, Tinted Windows or Loud Exhaust
- Jury Sentencing Only at Option of the Accused*
- Eliminate Commonwealth’s Right to Demand Jury Trial When Jury Trials Suspended for State of Emergency*
- Require Agencies to Determine Cost Savings for Introduced Criminal Justice Legislation
- Allow Earned Sentence Credit for Good Behavior During Prison*
- Create Discretion for Compassionate Release for Terminally Ill or Permanently Disabled Prisoners*
- Virginia Rental Assistance Fund for Families Economically Impacted by COVID
- Require and Reimburse Localities for Postage Prepaid Envelopes for Absentee Voting*
Following pressure from Republicans to condemn calls to abolish the police, Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam refused to back calls to defund the police in early June.
During a press conference on the state's response to COVID-19 and the protests over the death of George Floyd, the governor was asked for his response to the calls from protesters and some Democratic officials to "defund the police."
Several GOP leaders in the Virginia General Assembly asked for the governor to condemn the suggestion of defunding the police.
Northam first called it partially a matter of "semantics" about what people mean when they say "defund."
He said if people mean "dismantle," he does not support dismantling police departments because they "provide a much-needed resource for communities."
Northam then said he supports reforming the current funding rather than approaching it as "defunding."
Meanwhile, a video of a police officer went viral over the weekend after he exposed the hypocrisy of the "defund the police" movement.
As Neon Nettle reported Monday, the unidentified police officer explains in the video that he was called to provide security for anti-cop protesters.
The officer highlights the irony of protesters calling for protection from cops while demanding that police forces are abolished.
"They requested a police presence, you know, for their safety, at the 'defund the police' event," he reveals. in the video.