JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri’s new governor, Eric Greitens, is pushing to give the state the country’s toughest penalties for attacking a police officer, reflecting similar efforts elsewhere.
The former Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL’s pledge has played well with Missouri’s law enforcement community, which has been on the defensive since the 2014 fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Missouri already has harsher penalties for attacks against police officers, and some say the new Republican governor’s push for even tougher ones is unnecessary. Among them is a Republican state Sen. Bob Dixon, a legal expert who helped craft revisions to the state’s criminal code that just took effect.
Dixon says people who attack officers aren’t likely to look up the possible penalties before the attack. He says such attacks are a “one-time deal.”