Massachusetts Mulling Bill to Impose Death Penalty for Cop Killers

A police officer salutes during the National Anthem before the first game of a doubleheader between the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 5, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
WARNER TODD HUSTON

The Massachusetts state legislature is debating a bill that would impose the death penalty on people convicted of murdering a police officer.

“Our law enforcement officers are under attack and under assault,” said GOP state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell, according to Fox News. “We need to show our law enforcement officers that we support them, that we stand with them and we need to show criminals that, if you take the life of a law enforcement officer, you’re going to face that same fate.”

The proposal, co-sponsored by GOP Rep. David DeCoste, came on the heels of the deaths of three police officers: Weymouth Sgt. Michael Chesna, Yarmouth Sgt. Sean Gannon, and Auburn police officer Ronald Tarentino, all killed in the line of duty.

“The murder of Sergeant Chesna simply reinforced my belief that juries should have the option of executing criminals who murders police officers,” DeCoste said. “Police officers represent the line between civilization and anarchy. When we start tolerating people who execute police officers, we’re dabbling with anarchy.”

The Bay State currently bars the death penalty, and the proposed bill would mean a partial reinstatement of the sentence, only in cases where a police officer is murdered.

Trump has also weighed in on imposing the death penalty for cop killers. In a speech for the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day service, President Trump suggested imposing the penalty.

“The ambushes and attacks on our police must end, and they must end right now,” Trump said last Wednesday. “We believe that criminals who murder police officers should immediately, but with trial, get the death penalty.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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