Trump, Lawmakers Seek Tough Penalties for Police Killers

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After a rise in the number of police officers murdered last year, the Trump administration and some Congressional Republicans are pushing for tougher punishments, including the death penalty, for those convicted of killing police, including the death penalty, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Journal analysed data from the Officer Down Memorial Page, which honors fallen officers, for people charged with, or convicted of, fatally shooting a police officer from 2012 through 2016. According to their analysis, six percent received the death penalty, and 47 percent face or could face capital punishment. The Journal also found that 29 percent received a life sentence, 10 percent faced a life sentence and 7 percent were given less than a life sentence.

President Trump said in his campaign that those convicted of killing police would get the death penalty under his administration, and one of his earliest executive orders called for harsher punishments for violence against law-enforcement personnel. Last year, 66 law-enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, up from 41 in 2015, says the FBI. In Congress, bills are moving forward that would make killing or assaulting most officers a federal crime and make it more likely for those convicted of such murders to face the federal death penalty. State prosecutors and civil rights activists, who often at at odds on criminal justice issues, says the bills are unnecessary and include provisions that would limit the filing of civil lawsuits in police brutality cases. Any prosecutor who doesn’t pursue a police killer to the full extent of the law “wouldn’t be a prosecutor for very long,” said Bill Fitzpatrick of the National District Attorneys Association and the district attorney in Onondaga County, N.Y. “There are lots of other things that state and local prosecutors need federal assistance on and this isn’t one of them.”

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