Alabama Digital News

Alabama House passes bill to increase penalty for running from police



Booking.com


The Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill today to increase the penalty for crossing the state line while running from police if the person fleeing is under suspicion of a felony.

Black lawmakers opposed the bill and said they were concerned the “reasonable suspicion” provision of the bill could be misused.

Under current law, it’s a misdemeanor to run from police unless the act of fleeing results in injury or death to a bystander or third party.

The bill by Rep. Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg, would raise the penalty to a Class C felony if the person fleeing crosses the state line and the “law enforcement officer attempting to arrest the person has an arrest warrant for or has reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a felony offense.”

A Class C felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Shaver, whose district borders Georgia, said border counties have a problem with people running from police across state lines. Shaver’s husband, Jeff Shaver, is the sheriff in Cherokee County. She said the purpose of her bill is to reduce the incidents of people running from police and the negative consequences, such as injuries and deaths, that can result.

“It’s a problem in all of our border counties,” Shaver said. “Suspects tend to think if they make the state line they’re home free. So they run for the border.”

Black lawmakers said people in their communities have more reason to fear encounters with police. They were concerned about the consequences for people who are inclined to flee police even if they have committed no crime.

“In my community, we’re going to run because we’re afraid of the police,” Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, said.

Shaver said people who run from police for some reason other than a felony would not be affected by the change in the law.

But Rep. Sam Jones, D-Mobile, said the “reasonable suspicion” provision created too much uncertainty about how the law would be used. Jones, a former mayor of Mobile, said he is always concerned when the Legislature raised a penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony.

“Reasonable suspicion, I don’t know that that’s the same thing with all law enforcement officers,” Jones said. “A lot of people see it different. Lay people would not know what that is.”

Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Mobile, repeatedly asked Shaver to provide an example of what would establish “reasonable suspicion” under her bill. Shaver said she could not give an example but said it was a legal standard that police are trained to apply.

Bracy said he worried about people being unfairly saddled with felony charges and the life-changing consequences of those.

“We should not be passing a bill that we don’t even know what triggers it becoming a felony,” Bracy said.

The bill passed by a vote of 72-25 along party lines, with Republicans for it and Democrats opposed. It moves to the Senate.

Related: Alabama lawmakers approve teacher retirement benefit changes

Bill to address Alabama school discipline, curb student suspensions stalls

Alabama and national politics.

Beaver Seeds - Get Out and Grow Spring Sasquatch 300x250 Beaver Seeds - Get Out and Grow Spring Sasquatch 300x250



Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.