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COLUMN — Democrats ban chokeholds, no-knock warrants

The 2021 General Assembly Special Session continues to move slowly, only meeting on Thursday and Friday last week, with no guidance on when it will be over. 

Last Friday’s session was a disappointment in many ways, but not in the ways most of us would think. Democrats brought legislation to the floor that, had they been willing to compromise even a little and listen to common sense, many Republicans could have supported.

Democrats pushed their anti-police agenda through the House on Friday. Many of us are worried that this will end in the death of more officers, suspects, and a less safe Virginia.

There is a reason Democrats have a reputation for being soft on crime — they are soft on crime, and favor criminals over victims and law enforcement.

Democrats passed a bill that would decertify deputies who get fired. Republicans support that for the use-of-force violation firings, but the Democrats’ bill makes it mandatory for policies as simple as uniform violations or attendance problems.

Democrats passed a bill that would ban the use of certain neck restraints by police, but they refused to include a “life or death” provision that would allow an officer to use the holds in a fight for their life.

They also passed a bill that would ban no-knock warrants. Republicans agree that they should be used sparingly and only in extreme circumstances, but Democrats refused to put in common-sense exceptions to their blanket prohibition. Again, the result of this legislation will be more dead police, and more dead suspects as those who could have been taken by surprise without violence will now have time to arm themselves.

Republicans gave Democrats an opportunity to fix all these problems, time and time again. They refused to listen to reason and the officers who serve and protect us every day — and instead, chose to listen to their far-left base.

This is just another data point in a long line that shows how Democrats are putting criminals ahead of victims and police. Republicans have always and will always stand to protect law enforcement and the victims of crime.

The new Democrat majority has decided to bring forth some of what I believe to be the most dangerous legislation I have seen in my years in the House of Delegates. If they wanted to make changes, this should have been done during the regular session in 2021, when all the interested parties would have had time and opportunity to present their sides of the issues.  Instead, they decided to push their agenda through during a special session being held virtually, where they have been able to control who participates and whose voice is heard in these critical debates.  It is incomprehensible how they have handled this session and their so-called police reform agenda.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.