Virginia Senate approves changes to police assault law

Virginia Senate approves changes to police assault law
Virginia Capitol. (Source: Capital News Service)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Senate has approved legislation that would eliminate a six-month mandatory minimum sentence for assaulting a police officer.

The bill was approved despite strenuous objections from Republicans who said it disrespects police at a time when they have come under attack during nationwide protests.

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 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.

(Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)