See below for video from yesterday’s debate on Sen. Scott Surovell’s SB5032, which “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.”
Sen. Surovell began by laying out what his bill does and does NOT do:
“What the bill does NOT do – it does NOT defund the police, it does NOT grant anyone the right to assault first responders, it does not make it legal to inflict injuries on any first responder and it does not change the law of malicious wounding in the Commonwealth, and there’s been a lot of confusion in the public narrative about that.”
Surovell then gave some examples of “what little conduct it takes to get a two-year mandatory minimum on a malicious wounding with a law enforcement officer.” With that, here’s VAPLAN‘s live tweeting yesterday of the debate and vote.
- .@ssurovell points out, in Senate floor discussion of his bill to remove mandatory minimum sentence for non-injury assault on law enforcement officer: “This is the only time when the person investigating and charging the offense is also the alleged victim.”
- .@ssurovell explains that It is still the law today that someone sitting in his car, points his finger at an officer and says “pow,” that’s enough to be a felony assault with a six month mandatory minimum sentence. Cites countless other ridiculous cases of “assault.”
- Senator Cosgrove says “we are taking away protections from our law enforcement who are out there every day protecting us.” Protections from onion rings and finger pointing, I guess. Not protections from actual harm, because that would stay an assault.
- .@TommyNorment says the substance of @ssurovell’s assault on cops bill is correct, but thinks the timing is bad because there’s a police shortage right now & it’s important to signal to law enforcement that we support them right now, & take this up “when things have calmed down.”
- .@SenDaveMarsden on @ssurovell assault on law enforcement bill: “All this does is provide guidance to police and prosecutors, to separate the serious things from those that are not. We can’t be handing out felonies like candy.”
- Sen McDougle opposes @ssurovell assault on law enforcement bill, thinks we need to send the message to law enforcement to “thank them for coming when it’s not convenient or not safe.” i.e. for doing their job (Bill removes mandatory minimum so jury/judge can decide if serious.)
- Oh here we go again, we don’t need to change laws like a 6 month minimum felony for throwing onion rings at a cop, says Sen Peake, because Commonwealth’s Attorneys are up for re-election every 4 yrs. Are all those bogus charges expunged when the prosecutor loses the election?
- @JenniferBoysko “thanks” her GOP colleagues for bringing up every *possible* thing that could go wrong with the police in Virginia, but reminds that “we’re talking about a very specific instance in the bill.” Recounts story of kid with PANS who spit on officer and was charged.
- @JenniferBoysko says of @ssurovell bill re assault on law enforcement: “This is not gratuitous or frivolous or in any way disrespectful of our law enforcement.”
- Defending ending mandatory minimum sentence for assault on law enforcement, @JennMcClellanVA says: “Is the punishment proportionate to the crime? That’s what people are in the streets protesting for. How long do we have to wait to change that? The time is now to do something.”
- @JennMcClellanVA talks about Caleb Moon, 11 yo African American child with autism. An SRO grabbed him while he was drinking from a water fountain. He cursed and struggled, officer threw him on the ground and handcuffed him. He was charged w resisting arrest & assault on police.
- @BillStanley thinks the felony mandatory minimum is in place for deterrence. Which is frankly just comically ridiculous. It’s shocking to me that someone who’s a defense attorney believes this.
- @Dunnavant4VA tells story of being pulled over for speeding, being polite to the officer, and driving away with a ticket the officer regretted having to give her. I’m *sure* this is everyone’s experience with law enforcement, right?
- @SenatorLocke: “I do not condone the violence in the streets & I certainly don’t condone mobs. But when you see someone on tv shot in the back, I certainly understand the rage…Maybe if we address these things now, ppl would know we are listening, care, things will calm down.”
- Senator @Chafin4Senate cites very reliable and precise statistic: “99.9% of the time officers serve with distinction.”
- “I know I’m not convincing a soul, and everyone in this body knows that.” @TommyNorment after speaking for the second time about @ssurovell bill to end mandatory minimum sentence for non-injury assault on law enforcement officers.
- @ssurovell apologizes for taking so much of the body’s time with this bill. (Joking bc every single Senator felt compelled to speak about it.) Says “if another Senator compliments my lawyering skills, I’ll give a 50% discount on your next speeding ticket.”
- By 21-15 vote, @ssurovell bill to remove mandatory minimum sentence on non-injury assault on law enforcement officer passes Senate.