Virginia Senate approves changes to police assault law

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.

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