Thom Tillis Reintroduces Legislation to Classify Deliberate Assault of Police Officers as a Federal Crime

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Posted: Mar 16, 2021 12:00 PM
Thom Tillis Reintroduces Legislation to Classify Deliberate Assault of Police Officers as a Federal Crime

Source: Tom Williams/Pool via AP

Led by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), a group of Senate Republicans reintroduced the Protect and Serve Act to implement federal penalties for those who violently target law enforcement officers, on the local, state, and federal levels, purposely.

Tillis originally introduced the legislation in 2020, when upwards of 300 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in his home state of North Carolina alone. The lawmakers are bringing the legislation back to the Senate floor after Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick lost his life during the January 6 riot at the Capitol. 

The bill deems deliberate assault of a law enforcement officer a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison; if the death of a police officer results, a life sentence can be given.

“Whoever, in any circumstance described in subsection (b), knowingly assaults a law enforcement officer causing serious bodily injury, or attempts to do so— (1) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both," the legislation reads. ‘‘(2) shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if— ‘(A) death results from the offense; or ‘(B) the offense includes kidnapping or an 14 attempt to kidnap, or an attempt to kill.”

Tillis hopes to crack down on “senseless acts of violence” against law enforcement officers.

“Law enforcement officers in North Carolina and across the country are heroes who risk their lives every day to protect our communities,” he said in a release on Tuesday. “Those who commit senseless acts of violence against law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their actions, which is why I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that creates federal penalties for criminals who target law enforcement. They put their lives on the line to protect us, and we should do the work in Congress to protect them.”

GOP Senators Jim Inhofe (OK), Josh Hawley (MO), Rob Portman (OH), Richard Burr (NC), Rick Scott (FL), John Boozman (AR), Mike Braun (IN), Jerry Moran (KS), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Steve Daines (MT), John Thune (SD), Kevin Cramer (ND), Roger Wicker (MS), Tom Cotton (AR), and Susan Collins (ME) joined Tillis as co-sponsors of the legislation aimed at protecting law enforcement officers.