NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
December 19, 2005


Assembly Bill Would Dramatically Increase Penalties For Crimes Against Law Enforcement Officers

Assembly Measure Builds on Trafficking Legislation Announced Friday

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced the introduction of legislation that would provide a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole for the murder of a police officer and would dramatically increase penalties for a range of other violent and threatening crimes committed against law enforcement officials.

"The Assembly has put forward a plan that encompasses the best proposals by the governor and the Senate but goes further in key respects by stopping guns from falling into the hands of criminals and by making sure that those who would murder a police officer will never be released from prison," said Silver (D-Manhattan).

Provisions of the bill (A.9084), which will be presented to Assembly members when the Legislature meets in special session later this week, would double mandatory minimum sentences for a number of violent crimes committed against law enforcement officers and increase the maximum sentences for other crimes to as much as five times the current penalty levels. The bill would also ban possession of deadly "cop-killer" bullets which can penetrate bullet-proof vests. The legislation builds on a proposal released on Friday which would provide sentences of up to 25 years without parole for gun traffickers and enact a range of measures proposed by State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to stop guns from falling into the hands of criminals.

"The names of more than 1,100 police officers - men and women - are etched in the Police Memorial erected on the Empire State Plaza at the state capital. They are the soldiers in the longest running war in the history of civilization. If the words that were spoken to the families of these heroes are truly sincere, then we, as elected officials, must work together in a collective effort to disarm the attackers. This week's special session is another opportunity for us to aid those fighting the war on crime," said Silver.

"When any New Yorker needs assistance, the first place they turn is to 911 for the protection of our police forces. The Assembly's legislative package seeks to prevent violence against police officers affording our officers greater protections as they work to protect us," said Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Assembly Codes committee.

Specifically, provisions of the bill seek to protect law-enforcement officers from the type of gun violence that recently took the lives of New York City police officers Dillon Stewart and Daniel Enchautegui. Silver said the new legislation would:

  • increase the maximum penalty for attempting to murder a police officer from 25 years to life to 40 years to life;
  • increase the penalty for first degree manslaughter committed against a police officer from 5 to 25 years to 10 to 30 years, doubling the minimum sentence for this crime;
  • provide the same penalty increase as first degree manslaughter for aggravated assault of a police officer or peace officer (from the current 5 to 25 years to 10 to 30 years);
  • provide a five-fold increase in the maximum penalty for criminally negligent homicide committed against a police officer, from a maximum four year sentence to a maximum twenty year sentence;
  • raise the penalty for menacing a police or peace officer from a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail to a Class D violent felony with a sentence of two to eight years; and,
  • enact several other penalty increases for other violent crimes committed or attempted against law enforcement officials.

Silver called provisions in the Assembly plan "critical tools in the state's efforts to address gun violence. Getting "cop killer" bullets off the streets of New York is an initiative supported by 143 police and sheriffs' departments from across the state. The Senate and governor repeatedly failed to act in an effective campaign to truly protect law-enforcement officers from violent criminals noted the lawmakers.

Silver said the legislation complements a bill (A.9083) advanced by the Assembly last Friday. That measure would both crack down on illegal gun traffickers and stop guns from falling into the hands of criminals before their violent use can harm the people of New York or their law enforcement officers. Silver also noted that the legislation introduced today goes further in some respects than legislation proposed over the weekend by the governor. Silver noted, for example, that the Assembly proposal to ban parole for persons who murder police officers has not been proposed by the governor or the Senate.

"Wednesday's special session is an important opportunity to enact tough, comprehensive legislation that addresses the sources of gun violence, protects those who protect us and ultimately makes our streets safer," said Silver. "We owe it to each and every New Yorker to move forward and address gun violence and crimes committed against law enforcement agents in a truly effective manner."