A Florida congressman is urging the Senate to quickly pass legislation to toughen penalties against cop killers, in the wake of this week’s brutal murder of a New York City police officer.
“It’s time to protect those who put their lives on the line for us every day,” GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan said in a statement released Thursday.
The congressman is the sponsor of “Thin Blue Line Act,” which would amend existing law to make the killing of a state or local law enforcement officer an “aggravating” factor in death penalty cases.
“We need to send a strong message that the heinous targeting of police officers or first responders will not be tolerated,” Buchanan added.
As of July 7, 2017, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 24 officers have died in the line of duty in firearms-related attacks, a slight decrease from the 26 shooting deaths at this point last year. The total number of line-of-duty deaths, however, has risen 10 percent over the same point in 2016, due to traffic-related fatalities and other causes.
The Buchanan measure passed the House in May and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa, has introduced a companion bill, which includes enhanced penalties for killing first responders and prosecutors.
Buchanan spokeswoman Gretchen Andersen said the congressman has been working with a national coalition of police and first responder groups to get the bill through the Senate and plans to reach out personally when Congress returns to Washington, D.C.
The assassination early Wednesday morning of NYPD officer Miosotis Familia came almost one year after five Dallas police officers were murdered in an ambush that occurred during a Black Lives Matter protest.
The 48-year-old mother of three was sitting in the back of a police van on Wednesday morning when a gunman, former convict Alexander Bonds, shot her at point-blank range.