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Minn. House Bill Toughens Penalties For Assaulting An Officer

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The Minnesota House is moving ahead with a bill for much tougher penalties against anyone who assaults a peace officer.

Right now it's a gross misdemeanor. The bill would make it a felony punishable with a 4,000 dollar fine and two years in jail.

One state lawmaker -- Rep. Brian Johnson (R-Cambridge), a former sheriff -- described one encounter with a violent man who tried to hurt him but could not be charged with a serious crime.

"Did a back-kick -- fortunately it went over my head -- and the battle was on," he said. "I had my jacket pulled over my head. He was trying to get my firearm out of my holster. It was one of the few times I literally said to myself during the battle that I was going to die."

Critics say enhancing criminal penalties for assaulting an officer won't stop violent criminals from doing it.

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