On Aug. 27, State Rep. Mike Mueller (R-51st district) testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of a bipartisan plan he spearheaded to increase the penalty for criminals who disarm or attempt to disarm a police officer.
Mueller, a recently retired Livingston County sheriff’s deputy, introduced the legislation March 12.
“A criminal who commits unarmed robbery is punished more severely than one who disarms a police officer under current law,” said Mueller in a press release issued after the hearing. “That’s troubling and it needs to change.”
The legislation was inspired by the death of Oak Park Police Officer Mason Samborski, a Howell native who was killed Dec. 28, 2008, by a suspect who took his firearm and executed him after he became incapacitated during a struggle with the suspect.
Mueller also shared that suspects had attempted to disarm him on two separate occasions throughout his career.
According to usatoday.com, the 52 firearms related deaths of law enforcement officers in 2018 represents a 13-percent increase over 2017. Fourteen of those occurred while the officer was trying to place an individual under arrest, according to a preliminary report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Nearly two-thirds were shot and killed by a handgun — four officers were fatally shot by their own weapons after being disarmed.
House Bills 4315-16 would increase the maximum sentence for attempting to disarm a police officer from a five-year felony to a 10-year felony, and increases the penalty for disarming a police officer from a 10-year felony to a 20-year felony.
Joining Mueller for testimony was Democratic Rep. David LaGrand, a former prosecutor from Grand Rapids, who partnered with him in sponsoring the legislation.
“It’s a straightforward plan that people across the aisle support,” Mueller of Fenton Township said. “We want to send a clear message that violence against police officers will not be tolerated and the Legislature has their backs.”
The plan remains under consideration by the House Judiciary Committee.