Ashley Moody pushes Congress for federal penalties against attacks on police

The bill would impose a possible 10 year prison term for assaults against police.

Attorney General Ashley Moody wrote to Congress Tuesday, urging lawmakers to take up a bill that would impose federal penalties against anyone who deliberately attacks a law enforcement officer.

The bill, H.R. 1325, would call for a federal prison term of no more than 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.”

Violators could also be subject to imprisonment for “any term of years or for life” if they attempted to kill or kidnap a law enforcement officer.

H.R. 1325 is also known as the Protect and Serve Act 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,” Moody said in a news release. “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.”

Moody’s call to action comes as the 2020 death toll among law enforcement surpasses that of 2019. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page,  157 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty this year. In contrast, 147 did in all of 2019.

The national trend is also true in Florida, where more officers have died this year in comparison to the last. As of Wednesday, nine Florida law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in 2020. At least six of those officers died after contracting COVID-19 and two others were murdered.

“As Florida’s Attorney General and the wife of a law enforcement officer, the increase in line-of-duty deaths is both heartbreaking and infuriating,” Moody said Tuesday of the national trend. “We have seen law enforcement officers on the front lines of this pandemic contract COVID-19 and die. We have also seen deliberate, brutal attacks on officers across the country and even right here in Florida.”

The measure is co-sponsored by two Florida lawmakers, Rep. Val Demings and Rep. John Rutherford.

Click to access HB+HR1325.pdf

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • Tjb

    August 12, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    What about law enforcement assaults on protesters?

  • James R. Miles

    August 13, 2020 at 9:28 am

    So the police should be given ‘special treatment’ despite their thuggish tactics against protesters and other minority groups? Under Trump, America is marching towards fascism on a daily and too few American’s really care at all! Democracy is in danger, does anyone really care?

  • C. Burt Linthicum, CPA

    August 13, 2020 at 11:45 am

    I am appalled that a Florida AG would be so incompetent as to advocate federalizing a law already in Florida statutes. Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution grants CONgress the power to punish only two crimes – counterfeiting and piracy. Article 10 reserves other powers to the states.

    Furthermore, these days it is much more likely for a citizen to be assaulted BY the police for a petty crime (like not wearing a slave muzzle), then charged with assault for defending oneself…which the AG now wants to make a federal crime!

    Meanwhile, the AG doesn’t bother to point out the flagrant usurpations of power by the governor in his recent “executive orders”, which phrase appears only twice in the Florida Constitution – in Article 4, Sections 7 (suspending state officers) and 8 (granting clemency). Empowering the governor to make or repeal laws would effectively make him a dictator. Article 4, Section 1(a) instead requires him to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”…like the prohibitions in chapter 876, section 12 outlawing the wearing of face masks. Certainly, the governor’s powers do not include usurping the rights of The People enumerated in the Florida Constitution, Article 1, Sections 2 (liberty, property, industry, pursuit of happiness), 3 (religious freedom), 5 (assembly), and 10 (impairing the obligation of contracts).

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

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