Peace officer protection bill advances

Disarming a law enforcement officer would be specifically acknowledged as a crime in Nebraska, under legislation advanced by the Unicameral Jan. 15.

LB128, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash, initially would have made the offense of disarming or the attempt of disarming a peace officer a Class III felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine.

A Judiciary Committee amendment, adopted 26-0, instead would create a misdemeanor offense of intentionally and knowingly removing a firearm or weapon from a peace officer in uniform or a peace officer displaying a badge of authority who is engaged in the performance of their official duties. Considered a Class I misdemeanor, the offense would be punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to one year imprisonment.

Disarming a peace officer represents a “significant threat of injury to the officer and those around him,” Coash said. He added that peace officers are attacked more often than people realize, noting that in 2012, Lincoln police were attacked 60 times.

A technical amendment to the committee amendment by Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers was approved on a 25-0 vote.

Senators voted 26-0 to advance LB128 to select file.

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