A bill introduced in response to the fatal shooting of five policemen in Dallas would impose strict mandatory minimum sentences for attacks on law enforcement, reports U.S. News and World Report. The Back the Blue Act, introduced by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, includes a 30-year minimum sentence for killing a federal judge, federal law enforcement officer or a “federally funded public safety officer.” The legislation would also federalize and establish mandatory minimums for the much more common offense of assaulting an officer.
“You could see why a senator from Texas would feel inspired to do something, but it’s very clear now mandatory minimums are not the way to go,” says Ashley Nellis, a senior research analyst at The Sentencing Project.
“These assault pieces are very vague and could potentially bring in thousands of more people who are in an altercation with a police officer and give them a little scratch on their arm,” she says. “We want everyone to go peacefully under arrest, but we know that doesn’t happen. It’s naturally a complicated situation.”