Virginia Democrats Pass Bill Reducing Assault Of Police Officer To A Misdemeanor


Democrats in the Virginia State Senate passed a bill allowing the assault of a law enforcement officer to be treated as a misdemeanor, which carries less than a year in jail.

The bill, which passed the Virginia Senate Thursday by a margin of 21-15, “would allow an assault against a law enforcement officer to a misdemeanor if the person attacked is not hurt,” according to WSLS Virginia.

Here’s the summary of the bill, known as SB5032:

Eliminates the mandatory minimum term of confinement for an 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 a bodily injury.

The bill also removes mandatory minimum six-month jail sentence for assaulting a police officer.

“Democrats said the legislation does not minimize the crime of assaulting a police officer, but instead makes a distinction between serious assaults and minor assaults,” the Associated Press wrote. “The bill keeps the charge as a felony, but gives a judge or jury discretion to reduce it to a misdemeanor if there is no bodily injury or if someone’s culpability is slight because of diminished capacity or a developmental disorder.”

The move followed Virginia’s Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver declaration last week that he will force all Virginians take a vaccine for COVID-19 once one is created and readily available.

“It is killing people now, we don’t have a treatment for it and if we develop a vaccine that can prevent it from spreading in the community we will save hundreds and hundreds of lives,” Dr. Norman Oliver told 8News.

Virginia state law gives the Commissioner of Health “the authority to mandate immediate immunizations during a public health crisis if a vaccine is available. Health officials say an immunization could be released as early as 2021,” the station said. “Dr. Oliver says that, as long as he is still the Health Commissioner, he intends to mandate the coronavirus vaccine.”

Virginia state law allows resident who have medical exemptions to refuse mandatory vaccines, but all others are required to take them. Currently, the Virginia General Assembly is weighing a bill in a special emergency session that “eliminates the authority of the Commissioner of Health to require immunization of individuals who object to such administration on religious grounds,” the bill says.

The bill is now in committee and must be approved there before lawmakers take a full vote.

“Oliver says he strongly opposes the bill. He doesn’t know what the punishment would be for non-compliance but expects that most people will respond well to the mandate,” 8News reported.


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