Democrats in the Virginia Senate proposed downgrading the charge for assaulting an officer from a felony to a misdemeanor.
The Senate Democrats released a plan to address police brutality and racial injustice in response to nationwide protests. The proposal includes several changes to policy regarding policing, including changes to the crime of assaulting an officer.
“Our constituents want change,” said state Sen. Mamie Locke, chairwoman of the state Senate Democratic Caucus. “We hear that loud and clear from them. They want policy change. They’re pretty much done with thoughts and prayers. They’re done with ‘one more discussion’ and hearing us say we’ll get it done. … They want policy change.”
The policy would “defelonize” assaulting an officer and “return” the punishment from a felony to a misdemeanor. Currently, a person found guilty of assaulting an officer in the state faces a minimum sentence of six months in jail, though judges can issue a sentence of up to five years in prison. Misdemeanor sentences, meanwhile, carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison and no minimum sentence.
Senate Democrats in Virginia say all 21 members of their caucus supports passing the following criminal justice policies in a special session later this summer. pic.twitter.com/W7gOAnLB9F
— Ben Paviour (@BPaves) June 26, 2020
Several cities in Virginia have witnessed protests and riots following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest.
Additional changes proposed by the Virginia Democrats include a ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, a requirement that officers fire a warning shot before taking down a violent suspect, and a ban on searching vehicles because of the presence of marijuana odor.
Author: Madison Dibble
Source: Washington Examiner: Virginia Democrats propose lowering assault on police officer from felony to misdemeanor