It’s a felony to assault a police officer. Virginia lawmakers are trying to change that – and much more.

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RICHMOND, VA – The war on police continues. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio just cut over $1 billion from the police budget. Meanwhile in Virginia, Democrats are continuing their unabated power trip, having pivoted from arguably gutting the second amendment to now going after police.

According to Fox 5, Democrats are proposing a litany of criminal justice “reform” measures, however one sticks out.

At a time when police officers are under attack—physically—nationwide, Virginia Democrats are looking at downgrading the charge of assaulting a police officer.

You read that right. As police across the country have been subjected to being shot, stabbed, run over and having bricks and rocks thrown at them, Virginia Democrats think it’s a perfect time to downgrade assaulting a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor, according to a document shared by reporters and retweeted by Virginia Senate Democrats.

The document, entitled “Senate Democratic Caucus Police Reform and Criminal Justice Equity Plan,” says:

“The Senate Democratic Caucus has led and is continuing to conduct a series of community conversations to discuss these issues and we have heard from the public that now is not the time for studies or delay and that changes must be made during our Special Session.”

Also included in the “plan,” which might actually be called the “Tie the Hands of Police and If You Beat Them Up, That’s Fine Plan,” are measures that would ban so-called “choke holds” or other neck restraints.

Now, if this is in response to what happened to George Floyd, the first thing that needs to be understood is that George Floyd did not die of a choke hold, or anything similar. He had a knee to the back of his neck. That is not a choke hold.

Still, if the Virginia legislature thinks that eliminating something like this from the options afforded a police officer in making arrest will reduce the risk of injury to criminals, so be it.

An unintended consequence of taking options out of the use of force matrix may very well result in unintended consequences—that of an officer having to escalate up the use of force continuum to something such as pepper spray, an impact weapon or perhaps a taser.

Also included would be additional restrictions to limit the use of force, including a requirement to issue warnings and exhausting “all other means” before using deadly physical force.

The “reforms” would also cancel supplemental funding for local police agencies if they have had a “disproportionate use of force incidents in their jurisdiction.” Fox 5 said it was not known if the funding would be automatically removed, or if police agencies would have a chance to handle incidents internally first.

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Additionally, police would be prohibited from searching people or vehicles based only on an odor of marijuana if there is no suspicion of any other offenses, and it would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences.

The proposal lowering the classification of assaulting a police officer is puzzling, however. What is the benefit of implementing such a proposal if not for only having the intention of one of two things—lowering the deterrent to people who might be inclined to assault an officer, or two, discouraging police officers to actually do their job?

According to Red State, the current law for Assault and Battery, § 18.2-57 Assault and Battery, includes the following subparagraph:

(C) 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 as defined in subsection F,…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.

A Class 6 felony in the Commonwealth carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years.

Under the proposed changes under consideration by the Democrats, it would remove the provision for law enforcement, which would mean that “assault on a law enforcement officer” would be the same as assault on any other individual.

Under Subparagraph (A) of the same statute, it reads:

Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

A Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year, with no mandatory minimum sentence.

This is what happens when you have bureaucrats making decisions on police tactics. On the one hand, they want to tie the hands of police in trying to effect arrests, reducing their options on use of force for those who don’t feel like getting arrested, while at the same time lowering the liability for those same criminals who resist the police instead of submitting to a lawful arrest.

The men involved in the two most recent criminal cases that has caused all of this consternation, both George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, would still be alive today if they had submitted to lawful arrests.

That has been lost in the sideshow that followed both incidents.

So, what will the result be? Honestly, police will begin to look the other way. We’ve already seen that in some of the big cities such as New York.

When cops do not have the support of their administration, political leaders, and the public, what is the point? Cops want to go home to their families. Cops are not stupid…the message they are receiving is loud and clear: Politicians are not on the side of the police.

What else will happen? For those who do make arrests, the lowering of the criminal violations from felonies to misdemeanors will increase the likelihood that more individuals being placed under arrest will be more combative. In response, police will have to go up the use of force continuum. It is only natural. Yet another possible consequence? Bystanders will be more likely to join in to help their compatriot.

What is the Virginia legislature hoping to accomplish? Who knows? They’ve already taken a run on people’s right to protect themselves via the Second Amendment. Now they’re disincentivizing police to do their jobs. They have clearly thrown down with the criminals and chaos, not law and order.

Oh, but here is one thing they have accomplished. A measure to limit reporting of sex crimes in schools. Guess they like all criminals. 

They say elections have consequences. Virginians voted this legislature in. Now they have to live with what they have done.


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