Calling This a Slap on the Wrist is Unfair to Those Who Actually Get a Slap on the Wrist

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

There have been numerous assaults on police officers in the wake of the death of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis. But police officers carry firearms, and assailing one is fraught with danger; it’s something that can get you killed stone-cold graveyard dead. More, getting arrested for doing so can subject you to years in prison.

Now the Virginia state Senate has approved a change to the law, allowing an assault on a police officer to be downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor, though the felony can still be charged if the bill is passed.

Senator Scott Survell, a Democrat who proposed the legislation, said the bill was not meant to apply in cases of serious injury suffered by police officers.

“What we’re talking about here are situations that involve much more insignificant minor touches,” Survell said in comments reported by the Associated Press. However, state Republicans slammed the legislation in light of ongoing efforts nationwide to “defund” police departments.

Well, OK, perhaps the intent is to prevent overcharging when it comes to incidental contact.

But now there’s this from the Denver Post:

Four men now sentenced for injuring Arvada officer with a chlorine bomb

The officer suffered serious heart damage and spent months going to medical appointments and missing work. He continues to suffer the effects of the chlorine gas.

By  | [email protected] | The Denver Post | August 27, 2020 | 7:44 PM MDT | Updated: August 30, 2020 | 9:53 PM MDT

Four men have now been sentenced in Jefferson County for throwing a chlorine bomb at a police officer who was injured in the incident.

Three of the four defendants in the case were sentenced Thursday, with one man being sentenced earlier, according to a district attorney’s office news release.

The Arvada police officer was injured around midnight April 6, 2019, when he attempted to clear a road hazard at West 72nd Avenue and Beech Street, the release said.

The defendants had “built” the hazard, with street signs pulled out of the ground, to make a target for their plastic bottle chlorine bombs. When the officer began removing the hazard, the men yelled obscenities and hurled the bomb, the release said.

The bottle hit the ground near the officer, releasing a cloud of chlorine gas. The officer coughed, became nauseous and lost consciousness, falling to the ground. He was taken to a local hospital.

Chlorine gas was used as a weapon during World War I, and can be lethal.

The officer suffered serious heart damage and spent months going to medical appointments and missing work. He continues to suffer the effects of the chlorine gas.

Luring a police officer to clear a hazard, and then attacking him with a potentially lethal weapon; that sounds like attempted first degree murder to me. The officer survived, but is still suffering from the effects of the attack. So, how many decades will they spend behind bars?

Gavin Beret Dawson and Maxwell Cade McCann were sentenced to probation for two years, with 60 days in the jail’s Alternative Sentencing Program, which includes jail work release and in-home detention. Both men had pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault of a peace officer – toxic caustic device, a felony.

Braiden John Ulmer was sentenced to probation for two years, with 30 days in the jail’s Alternative Sentencing Program. He pleaded guilty to the same charge as Dawson and McCann.

Isaac Carl Koch was granted a two-year deferred judgement and sentence after pleading guilty on Dec. 9, 2019, to conspiracy to possess and explosive/incendiary device, a felony.

They got probation! Probation and some work release and house arrest.

The Post article did not tell us why District Attorney Pete Weir agreed to such lenient sentences. The four “men” will now all have felony records, which is a good thing, but, other than that, their punishments are almost inconsequential. Two months of “jail work release” from home detention? These cretins can continue to live in their parents’ basements, laughing at what they have gotten away with, while the unnamed police officer continues to suffer possibly permanent damage. They’ll all be free from house arrest in time for Colorado’s ski season.

Why were these criminals treated so leniently? Was the prosecutor concerned that his case was shaky, and a slap on the wrist was the most he could get? Mr Weir is a Republican. Or did he somehow sympathize with the defendants?

Why should the #BlackLivesMatter protesters worry about trying to murder a police officer? After all, it doesn’t look they get punished very harshly for doing so.

Well, a chlorine gas attack is the use of a weapon of mass destruction, and that ought to be enough to make this a federal offense. The United States Attorney for the area, and Attorney General William Barr ought to start looking into whether these four creeps can be federally charged, and locked up for sixty years, not sixty days.
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