My apologies in advance if that title seems a bit on the bizarre side. I can already imagine what some non-Virginia readers are thinking. What? You mean it wasn’t illegal to assault a cop before now?
Not at all. It’s been illegal to assault a police officer in Virginia for pretty much as long as there have been police. The actual news item in this story is that it’s traditionally been a felony to do so. But now, thanks to the Democratic majority in the Old Dominion State, it’s only going to be a misdemeanor if a new senate bill is passed into law, at least under some circumstances. I bet the cops in Virginia all being overcome with warm and fuzzy feelings for their government right about now, eh? (WSLS)
A controversial bill is moving forward during the current Virginia General Assembly special session.
On Wednesday, the Virginia Senate voted 21-15 to pass Senate Bill 5032, which would allow an assault against a law enforcement officer to a misdemeanor if the person attacked is not hurt.
Here’s the summary of the bill:
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.
So it’s not just the police who would be losing this protection. It’s also judges, prison guards, firefighters, ambulance crews and pretty much any first responders. Isn’t that just lovely?
There’s currently a minimum six-month sentence for committing such an assault. That would also be removed under the provisions of this new senate bill.
We’re currently living in an era where people in New York City are throwing Molotov cocktails into police cruisers. In Chicago and Minnesota (among other places) rioters are firing bottle rockets and other forms of fireworks at the cops. Some are just throwing good old-fashioned bricks or bottles of frozen water. And what is the response from the Democrats in Virginia’s legislature? Let’s pass a law letting people know we aren’t going to take it too seriously if you decide to beat up some cops. Or firemen. Or ambulance drivers. Or anyone else who puts their lives on the line to keep you ingrates alive while you’re looting and burning your own cities.
I’m aware of some of the traditional arguments against having laws providing enhanced sentences for attacking the police. They’re just citizens like the rest of us. Don’t we all get equal protection under the law?
From a strictly libertarian point of view, that’s a completely valid argument, but because of the extenuating circumstances, I don’t see it that way. When you attack a police officer you aren’t just attacking the person inside the uniform. You’re attacking the uniform itself. You’re attacking the Thin Blue Line that stands between civil society and anarchy. Considering the mayhem engulfing many of our cities in 2020 and the growing toll of deaths, injuries and arson damage at the hands of the mobs, I would think that this lesson would be particularly fresh in everyone’s minds.
Not so in the Virginia state senate, I’m afraid. So long as you don’t put them in the hospital, you can get away with sucker-punching a cop and only receive a small fine for your trouble. Because the police are the real problem, right? When the wheels start seriously coming off of this wagon and you see a lot more shootings like the one we just saw in Wisconsin, please do us all a favor and don’t pretend you’re surprised.