Vern Buchanan calls on Senate to pass his bill punishing cop killers - Florida Politics

Vern Buchanan calls on Senate to pass his bill punishing cop killers

Vern Buchanan is seizing on heavy media coverage of a New York City police officer’s execution Wednesday, calling for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation making the murder or attempted murder of a police officer an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.

New York City Police Officer Miosotis Familia was sitting in the back of a marked van writing in her memo book when she was shot and killed with no warning by a gunman at around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The gunman, Alexander Bonds, was subsequently shot and killed by NYC police officers. It’s been reported that he wrote anti-police posts on Facebook and claimed officers kill inmates at the jails he was in.

The story of her death is featured on the Thursday covers of both of New York City dailies the New York Post and the New York Daily News.

The “Thin Blue Line Act,” sponsored by the Sarasota Republican congressman, passed the House in May. The proposal makes the murder or attempted murder of a law enforcement officer an “aggravating” factor in death penalty cases.

“It’s time to protect those who put their lives on the line for us every day,” Buchanan said in a statement Thursday. “We need to send a strong message that the heinous targeting of police officers or first responders will not be tolerated.”

So far in 2017, there have been 67 line-of-duty deaths, an 18 percent spike from the same point in 2016, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Most law enforcement agencies around the country support the bill. It is applicable in cases where the person is murdered on duty, because of the performance of their duty, or because of their status as a public official. covers federal, state and local police officers, firefighters and first responders. The only requirement is that the homicide involves federal jurisdiction, such as the interstate homicide of an officer, or an officer killed on federal land, or while serving as part of a joint task force.

The bill would cover federal, state and local police officers, firefighters and first responders. The only requirement is that the homicide involves federal jurisdiction, such as the interstate homicide of an officer, or an officer killed on federal land, or while serving as part of a joint task force.

Former Pinellas County GOP Congressman David Jolly sponsored the original bill, introduced in 2015 and again in 2016.

Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey sponsored the Senate version.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa for 15 years. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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