WV Bill Would Make Obstruction ‘Causing Death’ of Officer a Felony Punishable by Life in Prison

The West Virginia Senate has passed a bill that would make interfering with a police officer and causing their death a felony punishable by up to life in prison, John Raby reports for the Associated Press. The bill calls for the same potential penalties as a murder conviction, without requiring the state to prove traditional murder elements such as premeditation or malice. Morgan County Sen. Charles Trump said it “doesn’t matter,” warning potential offenders: “you will be treated under the law as if you planned and intended that death.” 

The bill, named after Charleston Patrol Officer Cassie Johnson who was fatally shot in December 2020, passed with a 31-0 vote and will now go to the West Virginia House of Delegates. The bill also applies to probation, parole, and corrections officers, courthouse security, firefighters, emergency medical service workers and fire marshal employees.

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