BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker renewed his call for stronger court procedures and penalties for individuals charged with assaulting a police officer, upgrading the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony when causing serious bodily harm. The proposal would improve the court’s ability to deal with the cases of individuals who have demonstrated disregard for law enforcement and pose a threat to the public’s safety.
“Under current law, sufficient penalties do not exist for individuals who assault police officers and cause serious harm,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The absence of such penalties makes the job of law enforcement that much harder and more dangerous, and illustrates the need to increase those penalties and ensure the punishment can meet such an offense.”
“Our system should have the ability to respond strongly if an individual attacks and harms one of our police officers,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Those with such a disdain for the rule of law must know that the Commonwealth will take their actions seriously.”
“Having the option to hold individuals who have committed a serious assault on a police officer means we could keep dangerous individuals off the streets as they await trial, a move that would benefit law enforcement and the public at large,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Dan Bennett.
First filed in June, 2016, during the previous legislative session, Governor Baker’s legislation would make three changes in the way that courts could respond to people who commit assaults and batteries on police officers: