Protecting the criminals: Virginia lawmakers pass bill that could end ‘stop, sniff and search’

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RICHMOND, VA – Lawmakers in Virginia are one step closer to doing away with “stop, sniff and search.” 

On Friday, the state Senate approved a bill that could ban search and seizure based only on the smell of marijuana. 

Senate Bill 5029 reads: 

“The bill also provides that no law-enforcement officer may lawfully search or seize any person, place, or thing solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana and no evidence discovered or obtained as a result of such unlawful search or seizure shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.” 

The ability for officers to search a vehicle based on marijuana odors has long been a point of contention for activists who’ve been increasingly emboldened by the legalization of marijuana in some states. 

They argue that marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by officers’ ability to stop and search cars. 

PBS News Hour reported on the history of search and seizure. Last year, the news outlet published a piece that says the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized an “automobile exception” for nearly a century. 

The exception to the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures gives law enforcement the right to conduct a warrantless search if there is a suspicion that there is contraband or evidence of a crime in the car. 

In Virginia, Senate Bill 5029 still needs approval from the House and a signature from the governor before it becomes law. 

It passed the Senate on a 21-15 vote. 

Senator L. Louise Lucas tweeted: 

“Criminal Justice Reform Legislation is passing in the Senate and my bill, SB 5029 is one such piece of legislation. It bans searches based solely on the odor of marijuana. The measure changes four traffic offenses from primary to secondary to include possession of marijuana.” 

Chelsea Higgs Wise, the founder of Marijuana Justice, posted on Facebook following Friday’s vote. The non-profit pushes for the legalization of marijuana in Virginia. Higgs Wise said there is still a “long way to go.” She wrote: 

“The odor of marijuana is something that our undocumented community is anxious about because it’s life or death and separation from their families.” 

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An ACLU research report published in April details marijuana arrests from 2010 to 2018 and “examines racial disparities at the national, state, and county levels.” 

Titled “A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform,” it claims to be a “road map for ending the War on Marijuana and ensuring legalization efforts center racial justice.” 

The report said that there were six million pot-related arrests in the eight-year period. It also said:

“Black people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people in every state, including those that have legalized marijuana.” 

ACLU of Virginia tweeted Sunday about the bill: 

“For too long, the odor of marijuana has been used as an excuse to over-police people who have done nothing wrong. Driving while Black should not mean having a target on your back, and we hope that this bill would be the first step to end racial profiling on our streets.” 

Not every group considers this a win. 

Local news outlet InsideNOVA reported that the executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, Dana Schrad, said the organization opposes the bill. In an email to InsideNOVA, Schrad wrote: 

“Enacting this type of legislation allows and promotes smoking of marijuana while operating a motor vehicle, which is a fundamental disregard for maintaining a safe driving environment for motorists.” 

The group has not posted on Twitter since the bill passed the Senate, but shared a link from another news outlet on Aug. 28, the day before it was up for a vote. 

A similar bill is making its way through Virginia’s House. House Bill 5058 had its first reading on Aug. 28. It reads: 

“The bill also provides that no law-enforcement officer may lawfully search or seize any person, place, or thing during a traffic stop solely on the basis of the odor of marijuana, and no evidence discovered or obtained as a result of such unlawful search or seizure shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.” 

Law Enforcement Today will keep you apprised with updates on these bills.

Virginia Democrats just declared open season on cops, firefighters, judges, prison employees

This editorial is written by a retired police officer and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

RICHMOND, VA- Congratulations Virginia voters. You built that.

You may think that the violence is limited to Portland, or Seattle and more recently Kenosha.

Oh, there have been some smatterings of violence here and there in your beautiful state, but for the most part Virginia has been spared the anarchy taking place in other parts of the country.

However, your lawmakers in Richmond just declared open season on law and order.

How so?

Removal of mandatory minimum sentences for assaulting a police officer, as well as changing the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

That, however, isn’t the half of it. The Virginia legislature applied the same standards not only to police officers but everyone who works in emergency services and the criminal justice system.

Last week, Breitbart News reported:

“The Virginia Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would demote assaulting a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor and would remove a mandatory jail sentence for the crime.”

While the bill has not been yet signed into law, have you been paying attention to Virginia’s governor Ralph Northam?

When he hasn’t been lying about wearing blackface, he’s presided over one of the hardest left turns in state legislation in history.

Northam has signed legislation that tried to gut the second amendment and actually had counties in the state consider seceding to West Virginia.

He’ll sign the bill, that’s a stone-cold lock.

We have seen Democrats across the country declare war on law enforcement, if not by actions then by words. Mayors in Democrat-run cities have stood idly by as anarchy overtook the very cities they swore an oath to protect and defend.

Then, in the ultimate case of enlarged gonads, they attempt to blame President Trump for their ineptitude.

In this particular bill, Virginia Democrats are not just targeting police officers but anyone who has anything to do with law and order or public safety.

The bill’s summary states that it:

Eliminates the mandatory minimum term of confinement for assault and battery committed against a judge; magistrate; law enforcement officer; correctional officer; person directly involved in the care, treatment, or supervision of inmates; firefighter; or volunteer firefighter or any emergency medical services personnel and provides that such crime can no longer be committed as a simple assault and must result in in a bodily injury.

So, if we examine this bill this basically makes it open season on anyone having anything to do with a criminal, in essence from womb to the tomb.

Punch a cop, and as long as he/she doesn’t sustain an injury, no problem.

Push a prosecutor in court, or rush the judge’s bench and grab the judge, no problem.

Go to the clinic while being held in a correctional institute and assault a doctor or nurse. That’s fine with Virginia legislators.

This is really beyond the pale.

Another example…firefighters respond to a “peaceful protest” as defined by CNN with a building on fire. One of the “peaceful protesters” decides to attack the firefighters, but it doesn’t rise to the level of causing a bodily injury. Once again, misdemeanor.

Laws like this do nothing to prevent the carnage taking place in our streets. If nothing else, legislators should be looking to INCREASE the penalties for assaulting a police officer, or anyone in the criminal justice or emergency services systems. Think about the message this sends?

Virginia legislators are apparently also simply fine with miscreants taking over portions of their cities, as took place in Seattle and creating so-called “autonomous zones.” How so?

There was a bill that was proposed which would have outlawed zones such as the infamous “CHOP” zone in Seattle, where a group of ‘60’s hippie rejects, Antifa basement dwellers and Black Lives Matter terrorists commandeered a chunk of the city. What did the Virginia legislature do? Democrats, who hold the majority voted it down.

Some residents of the commonwealth advocate taking up West Virginia on their offer of a few months back:

So, not only have Virginia Democrats declared war on police, firefighters, and anyone else working in the criminal justice system or emergency services, they also don’t seem to give a hoot about their residents. Elections have consequences.

The removal of the “bodily injury” component that makes the aforementioned law a felony is troubling.

What exactly constitutes injury? In Portland and other cities, the geniuses have taken to filling balloons with urine and feces (who exactly gets THAT job?) and throwing it at cops. Would getting hit with that constitute an “injury?”

Spitting on cops? Any of that constitute a bodily injury, by Virginia standards?

When the excrement hits the fan in Virginia, will the clowns in the Virginia legislator with a “D” after their name try to blame the president, when they are the ones who enable these “peaceful protesters?”

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Reducing these crimes to misdemeanors is a slap in the face to cops, firefighters, paramedics, correctional officers, prosecutors, judges and more.

Clearly these miscreants have little fear of the criminal justice system as it is, especially with the dearth of liberal DA’s put in place by billionaire socialist George Soros. So, what does Virginia do? Makes it easier for them to escape justice.

As Breitbart says, “once you essentially authorize, once you essentially say it’s okay to shove a judge around or to throw poop at a firefighter or put a police officer in a bear hug…it’s over.”

The Democrats and much of the mainstream media have encouraged the current anarchy taking place in our cities.

In the ultimate display of either blindness or just plain ignorance, we had one network last week, CNN where one of their reporters claimed protests were “largely peaceful” as a building burned behind him. And he said it with a straight face.

 

The fact of the matter is that Democrats in America’s large cities are perfectly willing to sacrifice the safety and well-being of their citizens for political gain.

Were this any other year besides a presidential election year, this would have been put down a long time ago.

I’m old enough to remember the riots in 1968 which were sparked in large part by the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.

Cities across the country were seeing what we are seeing now. The difference is, in 1968, despite it being an election year, governors called out the National Guard to deal with the carnage, and it was put down rather quickly.

In this year, when Democrats are desperate to get President Trump out of office, they don’t want to give him anything that could be construed as a benefit. They are happy to try to lay the blame on him, as the gutless, spineless, feckless Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland tried to do this past weekend.

Anyone who is paying attention, however, knows that this is 100% on Wheeler, who has done nothing to control the riots that have been ravaging his once-beautiful city for three months and counting.

Only when polling started to show that the American people are tiring of the violence did Joe Biden leave his basement bunker and speak out against the violence, while not missing an opportunity to lay the blame where it did not belong…on Trump.

During the Democratic National Convention two weeks ago, not ONE word was uttered about the violence…not one.

So, when criminal thugs have already been emboldened and now attack police officers, citizens and even sitting United States Senators at will, what does the Virginia Democrat-controlled senate do?

Encourages the attacks to continue, and probably escalate, possibly expanding to now include judges and court officials. Why not? They’ve got nothing to lose.

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