Florida Attorney General Urges Congress Provide Federal Penalties on Individuals Targeting Law Enforcement

By  //  August 14, 2020

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Protect and Serve Act of 2019

WATCH: Law enforcement line-of-duty deaths increase, surpasses total officer deaths in 2019.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — Attorney General Ashley Moody is urging Congress to provide for federal penalties against individuals who deliberately target local, state, federal or tribal law enforcement officers with violence.

Moody sent a letter to congressional leaders to take up and pass the Protect and Serve Act of 2019.

The Act provides for a federal prison term of up to 10 years for anyone who knowingly assaults a law enforcement officer, causing serious bodily injury under circumstances where the crime affects interstate or foreign commerce.

The call to action follows a disturbing increase in line-of-duty deaths nationwide—there are more officer deaths so far this year than all of 2019.

“Legislation identical to the Protect and Serve Act of 2019 received overwhelming, bipartisan support in passing the U.S. House just a few years ago, then somehow stalled,” said Moody.

“But this Act is needed now more than ever, as law enforcement officer deaths are rising at an alarming pace. I am calling on our congressional leaders to demonstrate courage and stand up for our officers who risk their lives daily to protect American communities we all love. PASS THE ACT.”

The Act is co-sponsored by two Florida lawmakers, Congresswoman Val Demings and Congressman John Rutherford, along with 35 other members of the U.S. House.

Soon after being introduced, a total of 220 Republican and 162 Democratic House members voted for the Protect and Serve Act of 2018, with only 35 members voting against it.

The latest version of the Act is almost identical to the 2018 legislation. In 2019, the Act was reintroduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The committee has taken no action on the legislation since February 2019.

To view the Act, click here. To read Moody’s letter to Congress, click here.

Earlier this week, Moody urged Floridians to support their local law enforcement and highlighted a grave trend—line-of-duty deaths in 2020 have now outpaced all officer deaths recorded last year. For more information on this alarming trend, click here.

Moody is working to deter the increase in law enforcement officer deaths and to support the family members of officers killed after contracting COVID-19. She serves on President Donald J. Trump’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.

The commission is working to identify strategies and innovative solutions to help reduce crime, support officers, improve policing and protect Americans.
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