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Virginia Senate Democrats are proposing the reduction of the charge of assault on a police officer from a felony to a simple misdemeanor offense.

The proposal, one of 28 championed by the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus to reform the state’s law enforcement systems, would get rid of the current law that considers an assault of a police officer a Class 6 felony and imposes a mandatory minimum term of confinement of six months.

The Virginia code states:

If any person commits an assault or an assault and battery against another knowing or having reason to know that such other person is a judge, a magistrate, a law-enforcement officer … a correctional officer  … a volunteer firefighter or any emergency medical services personnel member who is employed by or is a volunteer of an emergency medical services agency or as a member of a bona fide volunteer fire department or volunteer emergency medical services agency … such person is guilty of a Class 6 felony, and, upon conviction, the sentence of such person shall include a mandatory minimum term of confinement of six months.

The Virginia Senate Democrats issued a statement reading, “The deaths of [George] Floyd, [Ahmaud] Arbery and [Breonna] Taylor have awoken Americans and Virginians to long-standing problems in policing in America. After people are arrested, additional damage is done by a criminal justice system that has been streamlined to produce convictions and punishment instead of rehabilitation and justice.”

As the Fort Hunt Herald reported, “The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus’ list of proposed reforms includes:

  • Prohibit No Knock Warrants
  • Ban Sex With Individuals Arrested by Law Enforcement
  • Prohibit Hiring of Officers Fired or Resigned During Use of Force Investigations
  • Create a Decertification Procedure for Law Enforcement Officers*
  • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds
  • Require Attempts at De-escalation Prior to Use of Force
  • Require Warnings Before Shots Fired
  • Require Law Enforcement to Exhaust All Other Means Prior to Shooting
  • Create Duty to Intervene by Fellow Law Enforcement Officers
  • Prohibit Shooting at Moving Motor Vehicles
  • Require Departments to Create a Use of Force Continuum
  • Require Comprehensive Reporting by All Law Enforcement Agencies Including Use of Force Data
  • Defelonize Assault on Law Enforcement Officer (Return to Misdemeanor Offense)
  • Cancel HB599 Funding (Virginia supplemental funding for local police departments) After Local Police Have Disproportionate Use of Force Incidents in their Jurisdiction
  • Create Local Authority for a Marcus Alert System – System to Report Acute Mental Health Crises
  • Create Local Option for Citizen Review Board Empowered to Investigate, Fire and/or Discipline Officers
  • Confirm Prosecutors’ Authority to Drop Charges*
  • Enhance Courts’ Ability to Expunge Charges for Dismissed Charges, Substance Convictions and Pardoned Offenses*
  • Prohibit Searches of Person or Vehicle Based on Odor of Marijuana Without Probable Cause for Other Offenses*
  • Prohibit Stops for Equipment Violations Not Covered by State Vehicle Inspection
  • Secondary Offense For Dangling Objects, Extinguished Tag Light, Tinted Windows or Loud Exhaust
  • Jury Sentencing Only at Option of the Accused*
  • Eliminate Commonwealth’s Right to Demand Jury Trial When Jury Trials Suspended for State of Emergency*
  • Require Agencies to Determine Cost Savings for Introduced Criminal Justice Legislation
  • Allow Earned Sentence Credit for Good Behavior During Prison*
  • Create Discretion for Compassionate Release for Terminally Ill or Permanently Disabled Prisoners*
  • Virginia Rental Assistance Fund for Families Economically Impacted by COVID
  • Require and Reimburse Localities for Postage Prepaid Envelopes for Absentee Voting*

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Body of Woman Found in Burning Dumpster in Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Law enforcement authorities in Virginia Beach say firefighters on Saturday found the body of a woman in a burning dumpster.

Police in a statement said officers responded to a report of a dumpster fire around 12:40 p.m. Firefighters discovered the body after they extinguished the fire.

The Virginia Beach Fire Department and the police department's homicide unit are jointly investigating the case.

Authorities did not provide any additional information.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: Virginia

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